No person shall be compelled to pay any taxes, the proceeds of which are specifically appropriated in payment of expenses for the promotion or maintenance of any particular religion or religious denomination

Debate Summary

Article 21, Draft Constitution of India, 1950

No person may be compelled to pay any taxes, the proceeds of which are specifically appropriated in payment of expenses for the promotion or maintenance of any particular religion or religious denomination.

 

Draft Article 21 (Article 27) was debated on 7th December 1948. It prohibited the State from imposing taxes to raise funds for the promotion or maintenance of any specific religion.

 

There was some confusion in the Assembly about the Article’s meaning. Some members seemed to have misinterpreted the Article to mean that religious property was not taxable. Operating under this false understanding, a member argued that religious property should be treated on par with other types of property and should be taxable. Another member intervened and clarified the true meaning of the Draft Article.  He pointed out that in Indian history kings often collected a special tax to support a particular religion; this use of public tax money had no place in secular India. These amendments were all rejected.

 

The Draft Article was adopted without amendment on 7th December 1948.

 

Later, some cosmetic amendments were made to the Draft Article by the Drafting Committee.