Essential Religious Practices Test and the Supreme Court of India: A Critical Analysis

  • Udit Singh
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  • Udit Singh

    Pursued LLM from NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad, India.

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The Constitution of India 1950 provides for religious freedom under the chapter of the fundamental rights. This freedom implies that the state should have minimal interference in the religious matters. In this sense, the Constitution provides for the separation of secular and religious domain. The conflict between the fundamental rights and religious practices led to the intervention by the courts in religious matters. The entanglement between law and religion can be seen into various judgments of the Apex Court. To decide the issues of religious practices, the Supreme Court developed the Essential Religious Practices Test (ERP Test). This test has been criticized for various reasons such as arbitrariness, judge centric etc. Also, few scholars have stated that the judiciary has taken the role of clergy in defining ‘essential’ and ‘non-essential’ practices of a religion. The questions have been raised about the role of Apex Court in adjudicating the religious matters. The research paper deals with the concept of ERP Test as developed by the Apex Court through various judgments. The paper tries to explain whether the Apex Court has overreached its power by developing ERP Test and whether it is in its domain to develop a judge centric test to interfere in religious matters. The study also explores whether other secular tests such as reasonable restrictions would have been adhered to instead of evolving ERP test, while adjudicating religious matters.


Research Paper


International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 4, Issue 3, Page 1857 - 1865


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