So Called Babas And Their Religious Activities: How to Check Them?

Article-25 of the Constitution of India gives fundamental right to every citizen of this country a freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion. In short, right to practice, follow or propagate any religion is a fundamental right protected under the Constitution of India but this right is subject to public order, morality and health and to other provisions of this part of the Constitution. Article-25 (2) (a) of the Constitution of India gives powers to the State to make law for regulating or restricting any economic, financial, political or other secular activity, which may be associated with religious practice. Thus, the State is empowered to make law for regulating the other secular aspects of religious activity. 

In the given constitutional background of religious liberty and right of the State to regulate the secular activities of a religious body, one finds himself surprised with the sudden increase in the number of Godmans operating in the field of religion and their other than religious activity. Nowadays, when religion and propagation of religion is not limited to the field of religion only, rather the religion and propagation of religion has become the source of amassing wealth and political power, these Godmans are using the religion for the purposes of earning wealth and political power. For protecting such interest, they are going to any extent. The examples are not to be named but they are numerous. Sometimes, they create volatile situation for the State machinery when law enforcing agency or the Court takes action against them in accordance with law.

In the given situation, is it not a high time when the State should exercise its powers under Article-25 (2) (a) of the Constitution of India to legislate for regulating and controlling the activities of such Godmans. For instance, a limit can he fixed upto which they can hold landed property and wealth and the property and the wealth of any such Godman exceeding that limit may be confiscated. A mechanism is required to be developed to entertain complaint against such Godmans regarding their religious and other than religious activities, it can be in the form of a permanent Commission headed by an impartial person. The religious places can be searched from time to time under the supervision of such Commission in order to see as to whether any criminal or anti social activity is being conducted in these Ashrams or Deras.

Guest Blogger:
Prashant Sinha, Advocate, Patna High Court


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