Subject to public order, morality and health, every religious denomination or any section thereof shall have the right—

(a) to establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purposes;

(b) to manage its own affairs in matters of religion;

(c) to own and acquire movable and immovable property; and

(d) to administer such property in accordance with law.

Debate Summary

Article 20, Draft Constitution, 1948

Every religious denomination or any section thereof shall have the right-

(a) To establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purposes;

(b) To manage its own affairs in matters of religion;

(c) To own and acquire movable and immovable property; and

(d) To administer such property in accordance with law.

 

Draft Article 20 (Article 26) was debated on 7th December 1948. It gave religious denominations and sections the freedom over their affairs, institutions, and property.

 

The Chairman of the Drafting Committee proposed to make the right subject to ‘public order, morality and health’. He stated that similar restrictions applied to other fundamental rights and the State must have the ability to regulate religious institutions and their affairs if necessary. This was accepted without debate.

 

One member took issue with the word ‘charitable’ in clause (a). He argued that allowing religious denominations to maintain charitable institutions solely to benefit their own members violated the principles of fraternity and single nationality in the Constitution.

 

Several other amendments were proposed and rejected without debate. The amended Draft Article was adopted on 7th December 1948.