Article 25 2(a) of Constitution and why is its interpretation fundamentally flawed
So, this is the state, the state draws his power from articles 25 and 26 in so far as religious freedoms are concerned. 25 broadly relates to individual religious freedoms and 26 relates to religious freedoms of religious denominations and therefore it speaks of institutions and there is an inter-play between 25 and 26. There is an inter-play between the two. Under 25 there is a beautiful provision. 25 2(a) of the constitution which specifically says that in so far as secular, economic, political or such activities concerned, the state shall have the power to make laws, and all of these activities are meant to have some kind of access with a religious practice. What is the purpose behind this legislation? In the first place, let’s understand this, which means Ashish is a good friend. Let’s say he chooses to write away his property in the name of a temple and he calls that this is my endowment to this particular temple. I have decide to donate this. Ashish has always wanted that the property be used only for the benefit of that particular temple and only in the interest of the particular temple , for the purposes of the temple, in relation to the temple, with respect to the temple, in reference to the temple, nothing else. This is what he has always wanted. Should somebody within the temple administration choose to divert the resource and put it for a different use altogether and diverts the very purpose of the endowment, 25 2(A) is the provision that can be exercised by the law. And say, I want a legislation in place which ensures that the temple administrators do not have the power or the wherewithal to divert resources from the actual purpose, for which was endowned to the institution, that is the actual purpose. Meaning thereby, the money and the resources are meant for investment in the community, they are meant for investment in the institution, they are meant for the furtherance of the cause of the particular institution and the community. So, any attempt to deviate from that particular path is what 25 2(A) basically is meant to stop and prevent.
Let’s see how we have actually interpreted it. This is where the lawyers, it’s a bag of tricks, they come into play. What the judiciary has effectively done is to basically say, so, previously I said, it relates to secular activities connected to religious practice, meaning thereby, financing for a religious practice. That nexus must never be broken. The umbilical cord is sacrosanct. The judiciary has said that, what let’s break this altogether and put secular activities in one basket, religious activities in another basket and create this distinction, why? You see I respect your right to religion because I will not touch this basket, that’s entirely your prerogative but in so far as this basket is concerned, it is secular and therefore the state has the right and the power under the constitution to interfere with it.
Why this distinction is fundamentally flawed ? I will tell you why. Can you perform a pooja without having the resources for the pooja ? Can you conduct an event within the premises of the temple without having the necessary resources for it? Ann daan karna hai paisa kahan se aayega. Pooja karna hai kaise aayega? Akhand bhajan karna hai paisa kahan se aayega? Naam sankeertan karna hai paisa kahan se aayega? Where will the money come for the performance of the religious activities? From the secular box , but who controls the secular box? The state. Meaning thereby, if the religious activity were to be the puppet, all the secular strings are to be in the hands of the master puppeteer, which is the state.
So, who is going to dance according to whose tunes? The religious practice and the religious traditions and the customs and the rituals now dance to the whims and fancies of the state, which is the master, which is the puppeteer, which is the superpower in this case. This distinction was evolved to protect religious rights and to assert control over secular rights. whether intentionally or unintentionally this has worked to the determinant of the Hindu community and there is no running away from this conclusion.
Every activity however religious it will have a secular angle to it. because paisa kahin na kahin hoga. There will be a non-religious aspect for the particular activity and if every non-religious aspect is entirely within the domain of the state control, you have encircled the religious activity with state control. Consequently, what you are left with is an academic paper right called as religious right, which can give you nothing.
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