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India: Supreme Court worried over future of secularism

Friday 20 March 2015, by siawi3

Source: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/supreme-court-worried-over-future-of-secularism/article6876037.ece

NEW DELHI, February 10, 2015
Updated: February 10, 2015 04:47 IST

Krishnadas Rajagopal

The Supreme Court on Monday voiced concern over the future of secularism in the country.
“India till now is a secular country… we don’t know for how long it will continue to remain secular. There are already too many problems because of this,†Justice Vikramjit Sen orally observed.
The Bench was hearing a petition seeking a declaration that the Canon Law is the personal law of Indian Christians and that a decree of dissolution of marriage granted by an ecclesiastical court is valid and binding.

‘Stamp out religion from civil laws’
Highlighting the need to “stamp out†religion from civil laws, the Supreme Court expressed anxiety over the challenges faced by secularism in the country.
The petition, seeking a declaration that the Canon Law is the personal law of Indian Christians, also questioned the jurisdiction of criminal courts to prosecute Roman Catholics under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code for bigamy without considering the Canon Law.
Petitioner Clarence Pais urged the Supreme Court Bench to consider this important question of law and religious freedom, claiming it impacted over one crore Indian Christians on marriage and its dissolution.
During the hearing, the court referred to honour killing as an example of the dangers that may ensue if religious or self-styled socio-political institutions were given legal backing.
The apex court granted four weeks’ time to the Centre to file its response to the PIL.