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Open Access Reexamining Secularism

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Reexamining Secularism

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The Ayodhya Dispute and the Equal Treatment of Religions

image of Journal of Law, Religion and State

It is widely recognized that the secular Indian state unlike its Western counterpart does not follow the strict separation of religion and state, opting to intervene in the domain of religion by treating religions equally. This article examines how the concept of equal treatment of religions is applied in the legal domain by an intellectual history of the Ayodhya litigation and argues that the courts cannot treat religions equally due to the incompatible nature of the claims made by the parties i.e. the history of religion claim of the Hindus vis-a-vis the property rights claim of the Muslims. Departing significantly from the current consensus about the litigation being characterized by defective legal interpretation and political influences, it further argues that the real legal challenge in resolving this dispute is addressing the theological frameworks within modern property law which are dependent on a set of normative inferences embedded in colonial discourse.

Affiliations: 1: Assistant Professor of Global Legal History, Tilburg Law School G.Srikantan@uvt.nl

10.1163/22124810-00502002
/content/journals/10.1163/22124810-00502002
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It is widely recognized that the secular Indian state unlike its Western counterpart does not follow the strict separation of religion and state, opting to intervene in the domain of religion by treating religions equally. This article examines how the concept of equal treatment of religions is applied in the legal domain by an intellectual history of the Ayodhya litigation and argues that the courts cannot treat religions equally due to the incompatible nature of the claims made by the parties i.e. the history of religion claim of the Hindus vis-a-vis the property rights claim of the Muslims. Departing significantly from the current consensus about the litigation being characterized by defective legal interpretation and political influences, it further argues that the real legal challenge in resolving this dispute is addressing the theological frameworks within modern property law which are dependent on a set of normative inferences embedded in colonial discourse.

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/content/journals/10.1163/22124810-00502002
2017-03-13
2018-09-25

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