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BYU Law Review

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Abstract

Religion is an indispensable part of human existence. Freedom of religion is considered as the third most important civil liberty after the right to life and personal liberty and the freedom of speech and expression. The Indian Constitution guarantees freedom of religion and acknowledges the individual’s autonomy in his or her relationship with God. However, the Supreme Court of India, through the creation and continued use of the essentiality test, has tried to reform religion by restricting the scope of this freedom. The judiciary has taken over the role of clergy in determining what essential and non-essential religious practices are. Moreover, the Court has applied the test in an inconsistent manner, repeatedly changing the method of determining essentiality, seriously undermining religious liberty. This Article examines these judgments to demonstrate the adverse impact of the essentiality test on religious freedom.


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