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Sikh Identity Petition: Supreme Court of India issue notice to Law Ministry

July 5, 2013 | By

New Delhi, India (July 05, 2013): It is learnt that the Supreme Court of India has told the Government of India (GOI) to file a reply on a petition seeking removal of an explanation to a provision in Indian Constitution that treats “Sikhs”, “Jains” and “Buddhists” as “Hindus” for all legal purposes.

Supreme Court of India

As per media reprots a bench headed by SCI Chief Justice Altamas Kabir issued a notice to the Ministry of Law and Justice on a petition that sought implementation of the report of the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution.

SCI was holding hearing on a petition filed by Arvinder Kaur, a Delhi resident. The petitioner said in her provision that the provision is in violation of the basic philosophy of the Constitution as it curtails the identity of people belonging to Sikh, Jaina or Buddhist religion by not recognising them as a separate religion and treating them as Hindus.

It is notable that Sikhs had been objecting to such a constitutional provision since the adoption of Indian Constitution in 1950, and see this provision as an attempt to assimilate Sikh identity into Hinduism.

As per media reports a panel headed by Justice M. N. Venketchallaiah had, in its report to the Prime Minister of India on March 31, 2002, suggested deletion of Explanation II of the Article 25 of the Constitution.

The controversial Explanation II of Article 25 reads as: “[t]he reference Hindus shall be construed as including a reference to persons professing Sikh, Jaina or Buddhist religion and the reference to Hindu religious institutions shall be construed accordingly”.

Article 25 of Indian Constitution deals with “Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion”, but the controversial explanation attacks the basic freedom of religion of Sikhs, Jainis and Budhists as it treats these distinct religions/faiths as part of Hinduism.

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