In India many Government Institutions, agencies, Judicial Bodies etc use mottos from religious texts primarily Hindu texts like Vedas, Puranas, Upanishads etc.

Does this violate concept of secularism followed in India ?

Some mottos -

  • Supreme Court - यतो धर्मस्ततो जयः (Yato Dharmas Tato Jayaḥ) [from Mahabharata ]
  • National motto - सत्यमेव जयते (Satyameva Jayate) [from Mudaka Upanishad ]
  • Research and Analysis Wing - धर्मो रक्षति रक्षितः (Dharmō rakṣati rakṣitaḥ) [from Manusmriti ]
  • In the US, we have laws regarding the separation of Church and State, yet we write on nearly all our money "In God We Trust". A required line in many courts is "Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole [...] so help you God"? – Ron Beyer Feb 28 '20 at 18:31
  • @RonBeyer: I'm pretty sure the requirement is unconstitutional. – MSalters Feb 28 '20 at 18:35
  • 2
    @RonBeyer you only swear to the (Christian) God in US courts if you want to. If you don’t want to you make an affirmation where you simply promise to “tell the truth ...” – Dale M Feb 28 '20 at 22:24

Art. 25 of the Indian Constitution says (in part)

  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, practice and propagate religion.


  1. Nothing in this article shall affect the operation of any existing law or prevent the State from making any law

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

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.

The preamble does also declare that India is a sovereign socialist secular democratic republic, but this is not a clearly-enforceable article. There is no legal requirement that government action be entirely devoid of consideration for religion. What the law says is that the government must respect the rights of individuals to practice their own religion, but that does not preclude favoring a particular religion, e.g. using Hindu texts in official contexts. So far, the courts have not rules that government action must be entirely devoid of religious reference (for example the various Hindu family laws vs. Muslim family laws are not unconstitutional).

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