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By: Shruti, Mritunjay Joshi, Soumya Rathi, and Tanushree Karnawat, students at Symbiosis Law School, NOIDA

Freedom of speech and expression and religion is considered as an important aspect of human rights. Freedom of religion in India is a fundamental right embodied under Article 25-28 of the Indian Constitution, whereas the constitution of Pakistan guarantees freedom of religion in Pakistan.  India is a secular country where people practice religion mainly Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, and Sikhism. India follows personal law, which is religion-specific. The constitution aims at establishing religious harmony and treat all religions the same. As religious freedom in Pakistan appears today, it was not the same as in the original constitution. The original constitution was without any biasness between Muslims and non-Muslims. However, the subsequent amendment curtailed the religious intolerance of non-Muslim.

Similarly, Freedom of speech and expression is a constitutional right granted to both India as well as Pakistan. As for where it is followed religiously in India followed by reasonable restriction, it is seldom exercised in Pakistan due to red tape. Much like India. The freedom of speech and expression in Pakistan is backed with a reasonable restriction which includes, ‘Glory of Islam’, ‘National Security, etc.

This research article intends to bring out a comparative study of Freedom of speech and expression and religion between India and Pakistan.



India, most famously recognized as the place that is known for profound convictions, philosophical reasoning, culture, has additionally been the origination of any number of religions out of which some of them exist in this period also. ‘Religion’ is an issue of decision, insight, and conviction. Paying regard to the Indian situation we can infer that, individuals in this nation have solid confidence and reliance with regards to their religion as they see that religion adds importance and motivation to their lives. With regards to individuals who are incredibly dedicated to their religion, they investigate every possibility in showing loyalty towards their particular religion.

The Indian Constitution ensures different central rights to the residents. One of the central rights ensured by the constitution additionally incorporates the right to opportunity of religion. India is a mainstream country and accordingly, every resident dwelling inside the region of India has the option to follow the religion he trusts in. A common State is one where the State has no authority religion. In S. R Bommai v. Association of India[1] , the Supreme Court has held that “Secularism is an essential element of the Constitution.” The State treats similarly all religions and strict groups. Religion involves individual confidence and can’t be blended in with mainstream exercises.

This right fundamentally entitles each Indian resident and gives him the freedom to lecture, rehearse and engender the religion of his decision. This right additionally gives him the recreation to lecture about his religion, offers the chance to spread it among everybody with no dread of legislative intercession. And yet the State expects that the residents practice it agreeably inside the purview of the country.[2]

At the point when we talk about India, we can say that it is a place where there is variety be it as far as race, religion, statement of faith, local area, rank, and so forth It is a nation where a huge number of individuals having a place with various position, sub – standing, race, vernaculars, and those rehearsing various religions have been dwelling since days of yore. The distinctions with regards to networks or religion or station are not in any way viewed as a disadvantage or obstacle with regards to improvement yet it is viewed as an urgent factor which fills in as some assistance in enhancing the way of life in the general public as well as in the country as a whole[3].

In Mohd. Hanif Quarashi v State of Bihar[4] the applicant asserted that the penance of cows on the event of Bakri-Id was a fundamental piece of his religion and along these lines, the State law disallowing the butcher of cows was violative of his entitlement to rehearse religion. The Court dismissed this contention and held that the penance of cow on the Bakri-Id day was not a fundamental piece of the Mohammedan religion and henceforth could be precluded by State under provision (2) (a) of Article 25.


Strict conversion in India


The Court concurred with the law set somewhere, in Robasa Khanum versus Khodabad Irani’s [5] case, wherein the learned adjudicator has held that the direction of a companion who converts to Islam must be decided based on the standards of equity value and great soul.


It was additionally seen that looked from another point, the second marriage of a backslider – spouse would be infringing upon the principles of regular equity. Expecting that a Hindu spouse has an option to accept Islam as his religion, he has no right under the Act, to wed again without getting his marriage under the Act broke down. The second marriage after a change to Islam, would, consequently, be infringing upon the principles of regular equity and as such would be void. The Court commented that every one of the elements of Section 494 IPC were fulfilled for this situation, and consequently the offense of polygamy had been submitted.


The Court was of the assessment that numerous Hindus have changed their religion and have become converts to Islam just for the reasons for getting away from the outcomes of plural marriage. Since monogamy is the law of the Hindus while the Muslim law grants upwards of four spouses, deviant Hindu husbands embrace Islam to bypass the arrangements of the Hindu law and to escape from correctional results. A marriage solemnized under a specific resolution and as per one individual law can’t be broken down as indicated by another individual law, essentially because one of the gatherings has changed their religion.


In Sarla Mudgal V. Association Of India[6], the inquiries which had come up for thought of the Supreme Court, where four petitions were recorded under Art 32 of the Constitution Of India were:


  1. Whether a Hindu spouse who has been hitched under the arrangements of the Hindu Marriage Act, by accepting Islam is in a situation to solemnize a subsequent marriage?


  1. Whether such a marriage without having the principal marriage disintegrated, can be supposed to be a substantial marriage under the law when the primary spouse keeps on being a Hindu?


  1. Whether the spouse can be accused of the offense of polygamy under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code?

Section494 IPC

Wedding again during lifetime of spouse or wife.— Whoever, having a husband or wife living, weds regardless in which such marriage is void because of its occurring during the existence of such husband or wife, will be rebuffed with the detainment of one or the other depiction for a term which might stretch out to seven years, and will likewise be obligated to fine.

Opportunities of religion in Pakistan


Before Pakistan was framed, minorities upheld the foundation of Pakistan since it was and is their country and they likewise talked about equivalent rights like other Muslim residents. The Christian country had a superior relationship with Quaid-e-Azam than at any other time since he was a mainstream scholar and needed to consider Pakistan to be a common state and opportunity, everything being equal. Interestingly during the Second Round Table Conference in 1931, the Christian people group of India, aside from the Sikhs, agreed under the management of Sir Agha Khan to discover an answer for the issue of minorities. The settlement was endorsed for Christians by Sir Henry Gidney and Sir Herbert Carr. The understanding is otherwise called the joint pragmatic battle of minorities during the freedom development. On December 22, 1939, when “Yom e Nijat” was commended on the abdication of Muslim delegates in Congress services at the call of Quaid-e-Azam in dissent of upper station Hindu strategies, the Congress was shocked to see that “Yom e Nijat” was praised by Muslims as well as Parsis, Hindus, Christians, and a great many Scheduled Castes additionally partook.


Aside from them, numerous other minority pioneers were welcomed as eyewitnesses. The squashed minorities agreed with the Quaid-e-Azam at each progression since they realized that just in Pakistan would their privileges be secured.


As per Pakistan Hindu Council, the biggest minority populace in Pakistan is Hindus, numbering around 8 million albeit the Pakistan Census 2017 cases that the all outnumber of Hindus is 4.44 million.


Minorities in Pakistan

Minorities face the most disrespectful laws in Pakistan Over the most recent 33 years, almost 1855 individuals have been accused of profanation, and those that have been accounted for do exclude every one of the episodes that have been accounted for. Minorities didn’t report because of a paranoid fear of being killed. Following the allegation of obscenity, the reaction in Pakistan has been to vandalize and burned down houses of worship and sanctuaries, and on a few events, even minority settlements have been set ablaze. [8]


Then again, the second serious issue of minorities is transformation, which is generally predominant among little youngsters who are urged to change over by dreaming great dreams. As indicated by a report by the Human Rights Commission, there are 1,000 instances of constrained religion change of young ladies younger than 18 in Pakistan consistently. What’s more, most of them have a place with the Hindu religion. Somewhat recently, 55 Christian young ladies from Punjab have been changed over to other religions.



Pakistan’s Sindh Assembly passed the Minorities Bill in 2016 endorsed by a larger part vote, which would make it wrongdoing for kids younger than 18 to change over. In 2020, the government bureau set up the National Minorities Commission six years after the fact, regardless of a Supreme Court request, the primary reason for the Minority Commission is to give the strict opportunity to minorities and to find ways to make them an undeniable piece of the public standard. Nonetheless, the new occurrence like a change of underage young ladies in Sindh and the assault on a sanctuary in Bhong Sharif is as yet a demonstration of the way that the province of Pakistan and the larger part treat minorities as inconsistent residents. Pakistan’s media is additionally hesitant to discuss minorities. Pakistani media never provided details regarding the issues of minorities, even in government houses there is a hesitance to discuss the privileges of minorities.

Laws have been made, commissions have been made, bills have been passed, yet the frequency of minorities has not diminished. The principle justification behind this is philosophical, from watchmen  to sub-editors and journalists, the educational plan that has been created under General Zia-ul-Haq, which depends on strict zeal and scorn for different religions, necessities to change[9]. Discussing and supporting the privileges of minorities in Pakistan has become such an image of dread that even the province of Pakistan neglects to establish new commissions for the privileges minorities, the greatest illustration of this is the discourse of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah on August 11 in Pakistan couldn’t be made a piece of the constitution and educational program, that what is the arrangement in the psyche of the author of the state, what sort of state does he need to make it?


Today, all administration areas in the nation, including the military, the police, the rail routes, and most the clinical organizations minorities are having their impact best in the improvement of the country. Yet at the same time, they don’t all vibe safe. The answer for the issues of minorities will come exclusively by discussing the issues of minorities. The public authority of Pakistan should take ideas from them for taking care of the social issues of minorities in Pakistan and make them part of the constitution with the goal that Pakistani minorities have a sense of security and take part similarly in the advancement of the country.



The right to free speech is viewed as a precondition for all other freedoms. It has a prominent place in the hierarchy of liberties, and it is claimed of freedom of speech that it is the mother of all other liberties. The right to freedom of speech and expression refers to the ability to freely express one’s beliefs and thoughts by any means, including speech, writing, printing, photography, and other visual media. Libertarians in the modern era agree that free speech is essential to a free society and that it must be protected at all costs. The free flow of ideas in a public arena is fundamental to a free society.

Constitutional aspect of law in Bangladesh

The constitution of Bangladesh has enshrined freedom of speech and expression in article 39, which is a highly valuable right but is subjected to many restrictions. Although the ruling Awami League won the 2008 elections on a popular promise to develop a “Digital Bangladesh,” in recent years, a draconian law – the Information and Communication Technology Act (enacted in 2006 and amended in 2013) – and its indiscriminate application have made a digital speech a heavily policed and punished area. This is especially evident in the law’s contentious Section 57.

Freedom of speech in Pakistan

The right to speech has been legislated in the constitution of Pakistan under Article 19 regardless of any discrimination based on gender. While the typical practice which has been witnessed in Pakistan is the repression of free expression of women at every element of life. In some ways, they’re treated like slaves or idols, with little regard for their freedom of expression or ability to communicate their thoughts and feelings. They’re not tolerated since they’re deemed to be living inside a “jurisdiction” imposed by the rest of society. When authority is granted, it is almost always abused. The right to free speech serves as a check on those who would misuse their positions of power, especially the government. It empowers citizens to rule themselves. It entails the freedom to say and publish anything as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others. Sometimes, women’s rights to free expression are violated by male family members like fathers, mothers, brothers, and uncles.

Freedom of speech in India

Article 19(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution provides that “all citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression.” The rationale underpinning this article is found in the Preamble of the Constitution, which makes a solemn commitment to guaranteeing liberty of speech and thinking to all of its citizens. Article 19(2) of the Indian Constitution places “reasonable restrictions” on the exercise of this right for specified purposes.

Freedom of the press: For democracy to prosper, there must be freedom of the press and public opinion to do their jobs without fear of retribution. It includes the right to disseminate one’s ideas via print media or any other form of communication, such as radio or television, provided that appropriate constraints are in place in accordance with Article 19 (2).

Case law to support this is: Romesh Thappar v. the State of Madra

This case was among the first ones that decided that freedom of the press has to be a part of freedom of speech and expression. It was said in the case that all democratic organizations are built on the foundation of freedom of speech and the press, because without it, no public education, which is critical to the smooth operation of the government, can take place.


The concept of Freedom of religion stands for the belief that an individual should have the right to choose and practice the religion of his/her choice. An important part of freedom of speech is the ability of individuals and groups to express themselves without fear of retribution, censorship, or legal repercussion.[10] The conflict of ideas, opinions, and leadership in Kashmir go way back to 1948. Despite multiple treaties and armed conflict, the basic question of human rights and fundamental rights remain in question. Pakistani Kashmir is regulated as two regions- Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. Each has chosen to get together and govern with restricted independence, however, they come up short on the parliamentary portrayal and different privileges of Pakistani areas, and Pakistani bureaucratic establishments have an overwhelming impact on security, the courts, and most significant strategy matters. Pakistan and India have carefully manipulated politics to promote the idea of Kashmir joining Pakistan in the future. Expression and association freedoms, opportunities for articulation and affiliation, as well as any political action deemed to conflict with Pakistan’s Kashmir policy, are all curtailed. On the other hand, the situation in Indian occupied Kashmir is slightly different. Now, Kashmir is in a true sense a part of Indian territory after the scraping off of articles 370 and 35a. This technically means that the Indian citizens on the territory of India have the right to practice and follow the religion of their choice according to article 25 of the Indian Constitution and the freedom of speech and expression according to article 19 of the constitution. However, recent events have shown a grave violation of such civil liberties in Kashmir. In anticipation of unrest in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Indian authorities have taken measures that raise serious human rights concerns.[11] There was the internet shutdown, political leaders were house arrested and public meetings and assembly were bans. This however was done on the pretext of reasonable restrictions to prevent hate speech and external disturbance in Kashmir, which might prove beneficial. Nonetheless, the fact that the current ground reality of freedom of religion, speech, and expression is in serious violation of the Fundamental Rights. In Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, laws restrict freedom of speech, particularly when it comes to the region’s political status. The AJK Council and the Federal Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan must grant permission for media outlets to operate. A wide range of media is present and active. However, news and political reporting adhere to official Pakistani narratives, such as that India’s control over the Kashmir Valley is illegitimate and that all Kashmiris want to join Pakistan. This conformity is attained through a combination of censorship, self-censorship, and harassment. Several businesses have been forced to close in recent years due to pressure from the government.[12] The two regions have a prevalently Muslim populace, and there is no authority or social resistance of nonbelief. Devices used to urge articulations of conviction and similarity with true understandings of strict precept includes laws criminalizing blasphemy, rules requiring observance of Ramadan, and an obligation to denounce the heterodox Ahmadi sect to obtain a Pakistani passport. In spite of the fact that there is a background marked by Sunni-Shiite partisan viciousness in GB, no significant episodes were recorded lately.



Analyzing the constitutional aspect of freedom of speech & expression and religion, it can be seen a huge difference between the two countries. The difference of the ideology between two countries can easily be seen between both countries as highlighted in the research article above. Both the countries got separated and started their working as an independent country on the same day. Separating from one country, both have a similar political and social background.

Where the constitution of India follows the concept of secularism, Pakistan is more inclined toward Muslims and follows law according to Shariat law. Where in India one can see equality being practiced religiously, the same cannot be said for Pakistan. To date, one can see laws different or practice of law different for men and women. Where freedom of speech for men means different as compared to that of women.

[1] AIR 1994 SC 1918



[4] AIR 1958 SC 731

[5] Equivalent citations: (1946) 48 BOMLR , AIR 1947 Bom 272

[6] AIR 1995 SC 1531




[10] Fee James V., Book Reviews 45-48 (Today’s Speech 1973)

[11] HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH,, (Last visited Sept 20, 2021)

[12] FREEDOM HOUSE,, (Last visited Sept 20, 2021)

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