The Constitution aims to establish a secular State. And a secular State means in essence that the State will not make any discrimination whatsoever on the ground of religion or community against any person professing any particular form of religious faith.

No particular religion in the State will be identified as State religion nor will it receive any State patronage or preferential status. The State will not establish any State religion; nor will the State accord any preferential treatment to any citizen or discriminate against him simply on the ground that he professes a particular form of religion.

The fact that a person professes a particular religion will not be taken into consideration in his relationship with the State or its agencies.

This does not mean that the State in India is anti-religious. Secularism in its original, historical sense was an anti-God and anti-religious concept. But in the Indian context that concept has no relevance.


In the words of Ambedkar, secular State does not mean that we shall not take into consideration the religious sentiments of people. “All that a secular State means is that this Parliament shall not be competent to impose any particular religion upon the rest of the people.”

Thus the distinguishing features of a secular democracy as contemplated by the Constitution of India are: (i) that the State will not identify itself with or be controlled by any religion; (ii) that while the State guarantees to everyone the right to profess whatever religion one chooses to follow (which includes also the right to be an agnostic or an atheist), it will not accord any preferential treatment to any of them; (iii) that no discrimination will be shown by the State against any person on account of his religion or faith; and (iv) that the right of every citizen, subject to any general condition, to enter any office under the State will be equal to that of the fellow citizens.

Political equality which entitles any Indian citizen to seek the highest office under the State is the heart and soul of secularism as envisaged by the Constitution.