The limit of pluralism : A perspective on religious freedom in Indian constitutional law

John, Mathew (2021) The limit of pluralism : A perspective on religious freedom in Indian constitutional law. In: Negotiating Democracy and Religious Pluralism: India, Pakistan, and Turkey. Oxford University Press, London, pp. 203-220. ISBN 9780197530016

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Religious freedom as understood in Indian constitutional practice is explicitly defined in terms of the power that the state will exercise over religion. In itself this is not an exceptional exercise of state power even in secular liberal democracies, as it is the state that ultimately draws and polices the line between religion and the state. However, in the Indian case it will be argued that defining religious freedom through essential practices violates social intuitions about religiosity and religious pluralism even as it might be motivated by entirely legitimate aims, such as upending practices like untouchability. Making explicit this hypothesis, the chapter will also argue that “essential practice” plays an important role in structuring India’s constitutional compact and makes unavailable many of the structures of everyday life that make pluralism viable.

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: Religious freedom | Indian constitutional practice | State power | Secular liberal democracies | Social intuitions | Religiosity | Religious pluralism
Subjects: Social Sciences and humanities > Arts and Humanities > Religious studies
JGU School/Centre: Jindal Global Law School
Depositing User: Mr Sombir Dahiya
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2022 16:17
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2022 08:38
Official URL:


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