Right To Freedom Of Religion

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INTRODUCTION “Religion is a matter of man’s faith and belief.”
The right to freedom of religion is recognized both in international law and the Constitution of India. Throughout history, there has been a development of the right to freedom of religion and the freedom has been incorporated in international legal documents.
Article 1 of The United Nations Charter, drafted in 1945, states that
“(3) To achieve international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.”
Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [UDHR]
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Some members of the Constituent Assembly opposed the inclusion of this right separately, as they thought it that the right to propagate was contained in the right to practice religion. They also thought that it might freely be used for the purpose of whole sale conversion. But the overwhelming majority of the members in the Constituent Assembly did not agree with this view and finally the word ‘propagate’ was included in Article 25 (1) of the Constitution of India. The Christian participants, in the Constituent Assembly Debates emphasised that millions of Christians felt passionately about the “right to propagate their religion” and that it perhaps is the most fundamental of rights. The Hindus, on the other hand did not believe that belonging to a religion gave the right to convert others. In the words of Purushottamdas Tandon “We Congressmen deem it very improper to convert from one to another religion or to take part in such activities and we are not in favour of this" and "it is absolutely futile to be keen on converting others to one 's faith" Nevertheless, they agreed to retain the formula about the propagation of religion, because they desired to stay on good terms with the Christian minorities in India. Tandon…show more content…
Propagate means to “spread and promote (an idea, theory, etc.) widely”. The word ‘propagate’ was interpreted in the case of Rev Stainislaus v State of Madhya Pradesh
“The expression ’propagate’ has been defined in the Shorter Oxford Dictionary to mean "to spread from person to person, or from place to place, to disseminate, diffuse (a statement, belief, practice, etc.)" We have no doubt that it is in this sense. that the word ‘propagate’ has been used in Article 25 (1), for what the Article grants is not the right to convert another person to one’s own religion, but to transmit or spread one’s religion by an exposition of its tenets. It has to be remembered that Article 25 (1) guarantees "freedom of conscience" to every citizen, and not merely to the followers of one particular religion, and that, in turn, postulates that there is no fundamental right to convert another person to one’s own religion because if a person purposely undertakes the conversion of another person to his religion, as distinguished from his effort to transmit or spread the tenets of his religion, that would impinge on the "freedom of conscience" guaranteed to all the citizens of the country
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