There is no reason for the Liberal, Secular, and Forward-thinking members of the Indian society to fear the rise of Hindutva or radical Islam. Let it be known to all and sundry that the Bombay High Court had passed a landmark judgement on September 26, 2014 in favour of Secularism as affirmed in the Constitution of India.
A bench of justices Abhay Oka and AS Chandurkar passed a ruling effectively establishing the right to call yourself irreligious after a PIL was filed by Dr Ranjit Mohite, Kishore Nazare and Subhash Ranware.
This was the ruling:
“India is a secular democratic republic and there is complete freedom for any individual to decide whether he or she wants to adopt or profess any religion. If a person is practising any particular religion, he or she can give up that religion and claim that he or she does not belong to any religion.”
Technically, it means that you are free to reject your faith and declare yourself a non-religious person – an atheist or agnostic, for instance.
The three petitioners belonged to an organisation named Full Gospel Church of God, but argued that contrary to the Christian sounding name, the organisation does not believe in any religion, and though they believed in Jesus Christ, they did not believe in Christianity nor did they conform to any other religion.
But this right, as with every other right, did not come without a fight.
Opposition was mounted by the Centre and Maharashtra Government, who claimed that ‘no religion’ filled up in official forms cannot be treated as a religion.
The court, however, shot them down emphasizing that…
…India is a secular democratic republic with no state religion, and Article 25 of the Constitution which guarantees right to freedom of conscience also gives the right to openly say that he or she does not practise any religion.
Some of the world’s most developed countries allow their citizens the freedom of declaring themselves as irreligious. According to Gallup, Sweden leads the pack.