• Denouncing religion

I was born in a Hindu family and for quite sometime I had followed Hinduism. As I grew up and became wiser by the day, I found religion to be a root cause of all divides. I have totally given up religion and the same time I don't have any kind of hatred towards any religion. I have made this a choice and I am going to stick to what I feel is right. As per the Article 24 the Indian Constitution, everyone has the right to follow his/her religion or faith and no one can stop one from doing that. I have still noticed that where ever the question arises to fill a particular form, there is a column for religion to be filled by the candidate. I have started leaving that column as for me I don't follow any religion anymore. I would want to ask you learned people, if there is a way that I can officially denounce religion so if ever I am questioned I would have a proof of that. Please advice.
Asked 2 years ago in Constitutional Law from Trivandrum, Kerala
1) in a landmark ruling, Bombay high court has judged that no government body can compel an individual to declare his or her religion.

2) court reminded governments India is a secular, democratic republic. It follows that religion is a matter of personal belief, not one that governments should concern themselves with.

3) you are at liberty to keep column blank when you fill in any form 
Ajay Sethi
Advocate, Mumbai
45520 Answers
2676 Consultations

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There is no question of official denouncement of religion.  It is as simple as it that you dont mention your religion anywhere even if there is column to be filled in this regard in any application to be forwarded for any purpose with any government authority. 
There is a recent judgment in this regard by the Madras High court by which had clearly stated that though there is a rule/law permitting a citizen to exercise his option to not to mention religion if he does not wants to, but the lethargy of the officials dealing with the subject irritates and people suffer due to such sarcasm and unruly behavior of the officials while innocent people throng public offices with applications for various benefits by the government including certificates for children education etc. The Madras high court has instructed the government departments to not to insist mentioning the caste or religion by the applicant if they do not wish to do so and this is to be widely circulated and followed in the true sense.
The Madras High Court on Wednesday(15.06.2016) ruled that persons who do not wish to disclose their caste or religion in application forms for admission to educational institutions in the state, should not be compelled to do so.
Disposing of a PIL filed by one G Balakrishnan, the First Bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice R Mahadevan, directed government to give wide publicity to a government order (GO) dated July 31, 2000 in this regard.

The state government had issued the order with the avowed objective of having a casteless society, the bench said.

Stating that counsel for the petitioner had submitted that the GO needed to be re-emphasised, the court directed the respondents to circulate the GO giving wide publicity "so that such persons who do not want to declare their caste or religion are not compelled to do so."

The PIL was filed seeking a direction to educational authorities to take appropriate steps to implement the GO with regard to the non-insistence of religion and caste of the student who prefer to remain "without such narrow and divisive identities."

T Kalaiselvan
Advocate, Vellore
35701 Answers
387 Consultations

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