Article 28 of Indian constitution talks about freedom to attendance at religious instruction or worship. No state shall provide religious instruction which is funded by state fund wholly or partially. The state is bound to follow the secular and social ethics under the preamble of the Indian Constitution.
What article says:-
Freedom as to attendance at religious instruction or religious worship in certain educational institutions. -(1) No religious instruction shall be provided in any educational institution wholly maintained out of State funds.
(2) Nothing in clause (1) shall apply to an educational institution which is administered by the State but has been established under any endowment or trust which requires that religious instruction shall be imparted in such institution.
(3) No person attending any educational institution recognised by the State or receiving aid out of State funds shall be required to take part in any religious instruction that may be imparted in such institution or to attend any religious worship that may be conducted in such institution or in any premises attached thereto unless such person or, if such person is a minor, his guardian has given his consent thereto.
Article 28 of Indian Constitution Explanation
With regard to religious instruction “Article 28 of Indian constitution” differentiates between educational institutions which
- wholly maintained out of State funds,
- established under any endowment or trust but administered by the State, and
- recognised by the State or receiving aid out of State funds.
In respect of educational institutions wholly maintained by State funds, clause (1) prohibits altogether the giving of religious instruction. As regards the institutions given in clause (3) of Article 28 of Indian Constitution.
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Religious instructions can be imparted if the endowment or trust so requires. As to those institutions which fall in clause (3) of Article 28 of Indian Constitution, there is no prohibition on giving religious instruction or conducting religious worship.
But there cannot be any compulsion on attendance, for it is expressly provided in clause (3) that these institutions shall not give instruction to or make it compulsory upon a person to attend unless such person gives his consent, or if he is a minor, consent of his parents has been obtained. The conditions in clause (3) apply the institutions in category (2) also.
Dr B.R Ambedkar on the Reason for Prohibiting religious instruction in educational institutions wholly made by sate and also said that:
There are three reasons, in my judgment, which militate against the acceptance of the view .namely, that there ought to be no ban on religious instructions.
The first reason is this. We have accepted the proposition which embodied in Article 21 [i e. 27], that public funds raised by taxes shall not be utilized for the benefit of any particular community.
For instance, if we permit any particular religious instruction, say, if a school established by a District or Local Board gives religious instruction, on the ground that the majority of the students study in that school are Hindus, the effect would be that such action would militate against the provision contained in article 21 [i.e. 27].
The District Board would be, making a levy on every person residing within the area of that District Board It would have a general tax and if religious instruction given in the District or Local Board (schools) was confined to the children of the majority community, it would be an abuse of article 21 of Indian Constitution [i.e. 27], because the Muslim community children or the children of any other community who do not agree to attend these religious instructions given in the schools would be none-the-less be compelled by the action of the district or local board to contribute to the District or Local Board funds.
The second difiiculty is much more real than the first, namely, the multiplicity of religions that we have in this country. For instance, take a city like Bombay which contains a heterogeneous population believing in different creeds‘ Suppose, for instance, there was a school in the City of Bombay maintained by the Municipality.
Obviously, such a school would contain children of Hindus believing in the Hindu religion, there will be pupils belonging to the Christian community, Zoroastrian community, or to the Jewish community.
If one Went further, and I think it would be desirable to go further than this, the Hindus again would be divided into several varieties Is the educational institution to be required to treat all these children on a footing of equality and provide religious instruction in all the denominations? It seems to me that to assign such a task to the State would be to ask it to do the impossible.
The third thing which I would like to mention in this connection is that unfortunately the religions which prevail in this country are not merely nonsocial; so far as their mutual relations are concerned, they are anti-social, one religion claiming that its teaching constitutes the only right path for salvation, that all other religions are wrong.
The Muslims believe that anyone who does not believe in the dogma of Islam is a fakir not entitled to brotherly treatment with the Muslims. The Christians have a similar belief. In view of this, it seems to me that we should be considerably disturbing the peaceful atmosphere of an institution if these controversies with regard to the truthful character of any particular religion and the erroneous character of the other were brought into juxtaposition in the school itself.
I therefore say that in laying down in article 22(1) [i.e. 28(1)] that in State institutions there shall be no religious instruction, we have in my judgment travelled the path of complete safety.
Case Laws related to Article 28
In D.A.V. College v. State of Punjab29 (D.A.V. College), Section 4, Guru Nanak University Act, which enjoined the State to make provision for the study and research on the life and teachings of Guru Nanak, was questioned on the ground that as the university was maintained wholly out of State funds, Section 4 of the Act offended Article 28(1) and was not saved by clause (2) thereof. The court did not accept this argument because what Section 4 enjoined the university was to encourage an academic study of the life and teachings of Guru Nanak, which need not necessarily amount to religious instruction or promotion of any particular religion. Similarly, the court saw no violation of Article 28 in the National Curriculum Framework for School Education approved by the National Council of Educational Research and Training which required education for value development such as truth, righteous conduct, peace, love and non-violence. Emphasising that Article 28 prohibits imparting of religious instruction or of performing religious worship, the court held that ”There is no prohibition for having study of religious philosophy and culture, particularly for having valuebased social life in a society which is degenerating for power, post or property. Religious instructions prohibited in Article 28 must be distinguished from study of religions.
BIBLIOGRAPHY- V.N SHUKHLA – CONSTITUTION OF INDIA