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Freedom of Religion and the Indian Supreme Court: The Religious Denomination and Essential Practices Tests

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Title:Freedom of Religion and the Indian Supreme Court: The Religious Denomination and Essential Practices Tests
Authors:Williams, Coleman
Contributors:Lamb, Ramdas (advisor)
Religion (department)
Constitution of India
Essential Practices
Indian Supreme Court
Religious Denomination
show 2 moreReligious Freedom
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Date Issued:2019
Publisher:University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Abstract:As a religiously diverse society and self-proclaimed secular state, India is an ideal setting to explore the complex and often controversial intersections between religion and law. The religious freedom clauses of the Indian Constitution allow for the state to regulate and restrict certain activities associated with religious practice. By interpreting the constitutional provisions for religious freedom, the judiciary plays an important role in determining the extent to which the state can lawfully regulate religious affairs. This thesis seeks to historicize the related development of two jurisprudential tests employed by the Supreme Court of India: the religious denomination test and the essential practices test. The religious denomination test gives the Court the authority to determine which groups constitute religious denominations, and therefore, qualify for legal protection. The essential practices test limits the constitutional protection of religious practices to those that are deemed ‘essential’ to the respective faith. From their origins in the 1950s up to their application in contemporary cases on religious freedom, these two tests have served to limit the scope of legal protection under the Constitution and legitimize the interventionist tendencies of the Indian state. Additionally, this thesis will discuss the principles behind the operation of the two tests, their most prominent criticisms, and the potential implications of the Court’s approach.
Description:M.A. Thesis. Ph.D. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2019
Pages/Duration:143 pages
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: M.A. - Religion

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