Now there are various aspects to it. One of them is that there is a lot of this interference on the part of the judiciary, is due to suits or law suits in, you know, litigation file, public interests litigation filed in the courts by organizations, which have some, may have some vested interest in the way this litigation are run. That’s an angle from the foreign funding prospective which I probably touch up on, I have touched up on another discussion, but which we won’t touch up too much in details.
What enable this kind of wide ranging of public interest litigation and wide ranging regulation and interference, in specifically Hindu affairs, religious affairs, is the structure of the constitution, and the structure of the constitution, there are certain aspects which give freedoms to practice religion with caveats. So I would like to point your attention to certain articles of the constitutions.
Articles 19 says that, protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech, to assembles peacefully, to form associations or unions, to move freely throughout the territory of India and to practice any occupation, carry on any occupation, practice in profession etc. So there is a state that says that nothing shall affect the operation of any existing law or prevent the state from making in any law, in so far as, such law imposes a reasonable restriction on the exercise of the rights, in the interest of the sovereignty or integrity of India, the security of the state, the friendly relationship of the foreign state, public order decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court deformation or incitement to an offence.
Now, this is about regarding the freedom of speech, assembly, freedom of association. So you have freedom of association, but it is subject to reasonable restriction with respect to public order, decency, morality. So that is Article 19. Article 25 freedoms of conscience and the right to freely profession, practice, and propagation of religion and that as soon as you say that the Indian state guarantees freedom of conscience and freely profession, practice and propagate religion; it immediately says that it is subject to public order, morality and health. So and there is specific Article 25 (2)(b) which says that, nothing in the Article shall affect the operation of any excising law or prevent the state from making any law, providing for social welfare and reform, or the throwing open of Hindu religious institutions of a public character, to all classes and sections of Hindus.
So it is on the basis of these clauses, it says that you have the freedom to practice you religion, but there are reasonable safe guards. One of the reasonable safe guards is that, it should not infringe up on public order, morality and health, it should not infringe up on people’s freedom of consigns and their fundamental rights, and it should provide for social welfare and reform only for Hindu religious institutions. Social welfare and reform is restricted to only Hindu religious institutions, mainly because at time that the constitutional assembly was convened, the idea was, there were certain protections that were to be offered to people. There were certain practices such as restriction access of people to the temple, which were of a public character. Again it specifically states, even if the temple is of a public character, I can restrict. Suppose if I have small private Mandir. I have, suppose, I have rich enough, I have big enough house, I have a small private Mandir in my house, I can restrict access to who needs to come in, who doesn’t need to come in. I can say that if you have, for example, I can say that Mutts, for example do not restrict entry of people in shorts, I don’t want to have you in shorts, there is a dress code to my temple, I don’t want you to come to my temple drank. That’s the restriction that I place on my temple, or if I am a particular nasty person I will say that people of this caste should not come into my temple. There is nothing in the law to prevent me from being nasty in my private property. It just make me a back person, it doesn’t make my action illegal.
Then 26 – freedoms to affair, freedom to manage religious affairs again subject to public order, morality and health. Every religious denomination or any section thereof shall have the right to manage its own affairs.