Secularism is the principle of seeking to conduct human affairs based on secular, naturalistic considerations. It is most commonly defined as the separation of religion from civic affairs and the state, and may be broadened to a similar position concerning the need to remove or minimalize the role of religion in any public sphere - Wikipedia article on "Secularism"

The words "secular" and "socialist" were added to the preamble in 1976 during the Emergency. -Wikipedia article on "Constitution of India"

Family laws in India are different when Warren Hastings in 1772 created provisions prescribing Hindu law for Hindus and Islamic law for Muslims, for litigation relating to personal matters.[37] However, after independence, efforts have been made to modernise various aspects of personal law and bring about uniformity among various religions. Recent reform has affected custody and guardianship laws, adoption laws, succession plaw, and laws concerning domestic violence and child marriage. Wikipedia article on "Laws of India"

From the looks of it, to me it seems that the idea of secularism doesn't apply for personal law in India, why is that? Also, would it be legally correct for the Indian constitution to self reference India as a secular state when having personal laws based on religion?

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1 Answer 1


Secular doesn’t mean what you think it means

It means that the state is independent of and neutral towards religion. Not that it doesn’t make laws about religion.

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