Think Learn & Perform (TLP)

The Only Dedicated Platform for UPSC Mains Answer Writing

Day 28 – Q 5. Political parties constituted on religious lines are antithetical to the principles of secularism. Do you agree? Critically comment. 

5. Political parties constituted on religious lines are antithetical to the principles of secularism. Do you agree? Critically comment. 

धार्मिक तर्ज पर गठित राजनीतिक दल धर्मनिरपेक्षता के सिद्धांतों के विरोधी हैं। क्या आप सहमत हैं? समालोचनात्मक टिप्पणी करें।


Gandhiji while commenting on religion and politics observe that combining religion in polity is inevitable. So, the political parties constituted on religious lines are not antithetical to secularism but in a way strengthen secularism. However, in contrast, Nehru saw mixing religion with politics tantamount to promoting communalism and goes against secularism.


Political parties like Rashtriya Hindu Mahasabha, Akali Dal etc., are formed on religious lines which questions secularism in India which is also a basic feature of the constitution.

Antithetical to the principle of secularism:

As per the constitution, India is a secular state and specifically provides for the separation of politics from religion. Political parties fight elections to attain power democratically so as to form the government. Thus, they should be separated from religion as well.

As supreme court hearing a PIL noted that, when the political parties are formed in the name of religion, their allegiance will always be for that particular religion and hence can never be secular. 

Even if we look historically, religious political parties in pre-independence India like All India Hindu Mahasabha and Muslim league were responsible for the destruction of secular fabric of the nation and increased communal clashes. 

Further, Post-independence, the activities of religious political parties were responsible for communal events like Anti-Sikh riots, Babri masjid demolition etc., which shows that political parties based on religion is always a threat to secularism.

As the supreme court as well as the Election commission of India has banned seeking votes based on religion which is seen as anti-secular. The political parties formed in the name of religion is in a way the same practice also anti-secular.

When political parties want to change the structure, system of government, judiciary and laws of a state in accordance with the principles and beliefs of a particular religion among many religions, people of other faiths in such a state perceive discrimination on the basis of religion. This is antithetical to secularism. It happened in Israel.

Not antithetical to secularism:

Indian concept of secularism has a positive connotation wherein every individual is provided with the freedom to profess, practice and propagate their own religion as a fundamental right which also includes forming a political party and dissemination of ideas through the same.

Indian constitution confers a fundamental right to form religious associations under Article 27. If that is not antithetical to secularism, then the formation of political institutions on religion is not antithetical to secularism as well.

Instead of being antithetical, political parties based on religion will fight for their rights and in turn will pressurize the government to be partial to all religions. Thus, they in turn will be strengthening secularism acting as pressure groups.

Most secular countries have religion based political parties, and, many of them are in power, or in ruling coalition. E.g. Ruling party in UK having alliance with a Christian party. Although many political parties in Europe have prefixed the word “Christian,” like Germany’s Christian Democratic Union etc., there appears to be no intention to change the basic structure of the state’s existing system and laws on Biblical doctrines.


Religion per-se is not the threat to secularism. One can form a party on religious lines, but it should not profess ideas that could harm the integrity, sovereignty, peace of country. Religion should be viewed as an ideology rather than as a group of people with similar interest. Every religion has the concept of secularism embedded in them and the parties misusing the same is the issue which is to be rectified.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email