The Ayodhya Case

Case Name: Decision of Honorable Special Full Bench Hearing Ayodhya Matters

Contributing Author: Ratna Kapur

Synopsis: This module contains Ratna Kapur’s case study on the Ayodhya.

Summary: Ratna Kapur’s case study on the Ayodhya case shows that in India religious freedom consists in the state granting various religious groups juridical autonomy over family affairs in the form of family or personal status laws. Thus various religious groups, including Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jains, and Parsees, are legally recognized as both the addressees and bearers of claims of right. These claims are recognized as extending to individual and collective aspects of freedom of religion and to the protection of separate (majority and minority) religious  and cultural identities. Such a conception of religious freedom is not without paradoxes, as exemplified in politically charged battles over the status of family law: feminist critics often assert that these laws privilege group rights  over the rights of women as individuals. Others argue that instituting a uniform civil code for adjudicating family affairs would compromise the autonomy accorded to religious minorities. Such contestations illustrate the contested and polyvalent nature of claims to religious freedom in situations where the collective aspects of the right are legalize d.

Case materials

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