‘Sikh religion’ and Indian Constitution

A fallacy propagated by Khalistani proponents is that Indian Constitution includes Sikhs in the definition of Hindus. Let us examine their claim dispassionately:

The Khalistanis oppose Article 25 of the Indian constitution. Which says

25. Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion

(1) Subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of this Part, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion

(2) Nothing in this article shall affect the operation of any existing law or prevent the State from making any law

(a) regulating or restricting any economic, financial, political or other secular activity which may be associated with religious practice;

(b) providing for social welfare and reform or the throwing open of Hindu religious institutions of a public character to all classes and sections of Hindus Explanation I The wearing and carrying of kirpans shall be deemed to be included in the profession of the Sikh religion Explanation II In sub clause (b) of clause reference to Hindus shall be construed as including a reference to persons professing the Sikh, Jaina or Buddhist religion, and the reference to Hindu religious institutions shall be construed accordingly

(Italics and colour are for reference, not in the Constitution)

Read 25 (2) (b) closely again – the article extends the provisions regarding Hindu religious institions to Sikh religious institutions. It specifically mentions “Sikh Religion” as a term TWICE. 25 (b) is more about extending some Hindu provisions to Sikh, Buddhist and Jaina ‘Religions’.. the word Religion is again mentioned herein.

In fact, the Constitution of India does not define any religion. India’s Constitution does not give a definition of the term Hindu, but it does define to whom the ‘Hindu Law’ applies. The Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 (which by the way is not the Constitution), by stipulating in Section 2 that the Act applies:

(a) to any person who is a Hindu by religion in any of its forms and developments, including a Virashaiva, a Lingayat or a follower of the Brahmo, Prarthana or Arya Samaj,

(b) to any person who is a Buddhist, Jain or Sikh by religion, and

(c) to any other person domiciled in the territories to which this Act extends who is not a Muslim, Christian, Parsi or Jew by religion

Here again we see that though Hindu Marriage Act provides for laws related to marriages of Hindus but extends the provisions to ‘Sikhs by religion’. It does acknowledge Sikhs as a seperate religion.

We read the fine-print and we notice that they do not extend the definition of Hindu to Sikhs, but the applicability of the act to “Sikh by religion”.

In conclusion:

  1. Article 25 gives all ‘religions’ certain rights: and subsequently, the word ‘Sikh religion’ specifically gives Sikhism the status of a religion.
  2. Hindu Marriage Act provides for laws related to marriages of Hindus; but extends the provisions to ‘Sikhs by religion’

Khalistanis are free to find flaws in the above argument and enlighten me. But the objections need to be legally tenable.

Post-script: Blog also published by Sikhnet at https://www.sikhnet.com/news/sikh-religion-and-indian-constitution. Thanks to the editors.