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When I was in India, I found it interesting that the Indian concept of Freedom of Religion (which they've had off and on for much much longer than the US) is actually equality of religion in the eyes of the state rather than separation of church and state. So, different religions have different laws that apply to them. That's a very alien concept to Americans.

Even Britain doesn't have a guarantee of freedom of speech like the US, particularly when it comes to hate speech.

The American lens is a foggy one, even excluding the fact that the rights we guarantee our citizens aren't necessarily the rights we grant citizens of other nations. It's a good thing to keep in mind.

But yes, India DOES promote the idea of freedom of expression and it's been a fundamental part of its culture for much longer than the United States has existed. Nobel prize winning economist Amartya Sen has a great book on the history of dissent in Indian history and how it's a cornerstone of India's culture and democracy: http://www.amazon.com/Argumentative-Indian-Writings-History-...

Indian concept of religion is so much different than the west that it may come shock to you. And it doesn't stop at religion, culture has a very big part to play at it.

Coming to law, Religion plays a role in the law too! Because its the cheapest and fastest way to get justice compared to the traditional courts, where it may take years and your whole savings will be wiped out before you get a judgement. For example Muslims have some thing called as Personal Law: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_India_Muslim_Personal_Law_B... , Which applies to many things like marriage and especially law dealing with personal issues.

In the state of Haryana there are Khap panchayats(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khap)

With such a large country. And thousands of languages, cultures etc. Such diversity in nearly every walk of life be it clothing, food, festivals etc. You can never say/do anything signification without disappointing few people.

>>different religions have different laws that apply to them

That's incorrect and somewhat misleading. It's rather such as - certain parts of (minor subset) some civil laws or family laws come under respective personal laws based upon religion/tribe &c. Like Hindu Marriage Act, Hindi Code Bills, various succession acts &c.

Remaining (most) part is a uniform civil code. However, it can be noted that in case of criminal matters - AFAIK - Indian constitution doesn't discriminate, in any manner, at least on paper.

Politics - both religious and generic - is embedded to everything in India, even laws. There's a landmark Shah Bano case where Supreme Court of India overruled the verdict given by Muslims' holy book which was as interpreted by clerics which is often misleading as in any religions. The interesting part here was that the court was compelled to quote from their Holy book Quran in the verdict - an aayat (like some sort of support) - as it was a very sensitive matter.

If it's incorrect it's certainly misleading. But it's not incorrect. It may be misleading.


There are clearly different laws that apply to different religious groups when it comes to polygamy and other, as you say, family or civil laws.

I wasn't trying to say that the entire legal system in India is bifurcated (multifurcated? =P) along religious lines. I was just pointing out that while the American legal system attempts to exclude religion from the law (to varying degrees of success), Indian tradition includes laws which take into account various religious traditions and customs.

It's just a different way of treating the issue of freedom of religion in the legal system.

Correct facts can be used to mislead. Why I said misleading was not primarily because I thought or maybe assumed (as I am no legal expert myself) but because the way you made a sweeping statement which might have been either done knowingly or merely in the flow of writing that comment you included the line. Incorrect because it was actually incorrect and when I wrote the comment I didn't have Set Theory in mind.

I just wanted to clarify the scenarios where laws are intertwined with religion, tribes or caste. Regarding the last term caste I have not been able to find any instance but have read in articles that there are such provisions.

I would like to add that your mention of Polygamy in India needs few lines - it's not enforced in India until and unless you are someone famous where people take interest out of the celebrity nature and hence state intervenes or the case/issue has blown up. It's present even in religions other than Islam. It's 'sort of' legal in most of the tribes based on tradition (this term often comes up in all sorts of legal cases in this country and is given importance) and it's common in rural areas.

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