The city of Mumbai’s High Court has responded to a petition filed by Dr Ranjeet Mohite, Kishore Nazare and Subhash Ranaware, seeking that the government not insist on citizens filling a religion in state government forms. The court ruled that no individual in the secular nation of India can be compelled to state a religion, and tat the government could not insist on such a declaration.
Dr Ranjeet Mohite, Kishore Nazare and Subhash Ranaware say they are members of the Full Gospel Church of God, and believe in Jesus Christ but not Christianity. A division bench of Justices Abhay Oka and A S Chandurkar ordered the national and state government to desists from compelling individuals to specify their religion in any state or national forms and declarations. “Every individual has the right to claim that he does not belong to any religion and that he does not practice or profess any religion,” they said.
Both the union and state governments sought to quash the petition and tat such mandatory declarations were necessary. But the curt reminded the government that India being a secular nation, there could be no state religion. The authority of the government cannot intrude upon the personal choices of a citizen of the country in such matters it said.
India is a country where a majority of the population, around 80%, follow Hinduism beliefs. The rest are adherents of a diverse range of religions including ISlam, Christianity, Jainism, Sikhism, and no religion at all. The court stated that in case the state compelled an individual to state his religion, the person had a right to state that he did not follow any religion.