News Analysis 20 Sept, 2022

20 Sep, 2022


1. The hijab case and the essential practices doctrine
2. Legacy of Development by Jawaharlal Nehru
3. Dark Matter

1. The hijab case and the essential practices doctrine.

Theme : Executive & Judiciary,Indian Constitution

Related Paper : GS - 2


  1. Context
  2. Doctrine of Essentiality & Doctrine of Essential Practice (ERP)
  3. Examples of Essential Religious Practice Test
  4. The Sabarimala verdict on ERP
  5. Why is Hijab not an Essential Practice?
  6. How does Essentiality square up against Religious Freedom?
  7. The Karnataka Hijab row

Context :
A two-judge Bench of the Supreme Court of India is presently hearing arguments on the correctness of a Karnataka High Court judgment that upheld the ban on the use of the hijab by students in Karnataka.

Doctrine of Essentiality & Doctrine of Essential Practice (ERP) : 

Essential religious practice (ERP) test is a doctrine evolved by the supreme court (SC) to protect only such religious practices under fundamental rights, which are essential and integral to religion. The doctrine of “essentiality” was invented by the SC in the Shirur Mutt case in 1954.

Examples of Essential Religious Practice Test :

  • While these issues are largely understood to be community-based, there are instances in which the court has applied the test to individual freedoms as well.
  • In a 2004 ruling, the Supreme Court held that the Ananda Marga sect had no fundamental right to perform the Tandava dance in public streets since it did not constitute an essential religious practice of the sect.
  • For example, in 2016, the Supreme Court upheld the discharge of an airman from the Indian Air Force for keeping a beard.
  • It distinguished the case of a Muslim airman from that of Sikhs who are allowed to keep a beard.
  • In 2015, the Supreme Court restored the Jain religious practice of Santhara/Sallekhana (a ritualistic fast unto death) by staying an order of the Rajasthan HC.

The Sabarimala verdict on ERP : 

  • The essential practice test is not without alternatives. In his concurring opinion, in the case concerning the ban on entry of women into the Sabarimala temple, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud proposed one such doctrine: a principle of anti-exclusion.
  • Its application would require the Court to presume that a practice asserted by a religious group is, in fact, essential to the proponents of its faith. But regardless of such grounding, the Constitution will not offer protection to the practice if it excludes people on grounds of caste, gender, or other discriminatory criteria.
  • The anti-exclusion principle postulates that where a religious practice causes the exclusion of individuals in a manner which impairs their dignity or hampers their access to basic goods, the freedom of religion must give way to the overarching values of a liberal constitution.

Why is Hijab not an Essential Practice?

  • Wearing of hijab (head scarf) by Muslim women does not form a part of essential religious practices in Islamic faith and it is not protected under the right to freedom of religion guaranteed under Article 25 of the Constitution of India, the High Court of Karnataka declared on March 15 2022.
  • The Qur’an instructs Muslim women and men to dress modestly, and for some, the hijab is worn by Muslim girls and women to maintain modesty and privacy from unrelated males. According to the Encyclopedia of Islam and Muslim World, modesty concerns both men’s and women’s “gaze, gait, garments, and genitalia”.

How does Essentiality square up against Religious Freedom?

  • Freedom of religion was meant to guarantee freedom to practice one’s beliefs based on the concept of “inward association” of man with God.
  • The apex court in ‘Ratilal Panachand Gandhi vs The State of Bombay and Ors’ (March 18, 1954) acknowledged that “every person has a fundamental right to entertain such religious beliefs as may be approved by his judgment or conscience”.
  • The framers of the Constitution wanted to give this autonomy to each individual. Scholars have argued that the essentiality test impinges on this autonomy.
  • The apex court has itself emphasized autonomy and choice in its Privacy (2017), 377 (2018), and Adultery (2018) judgments.

The Karnataka Hijab row :

  • The Karnataka HC, while it upheld the restriction on Muslim women wearing a hijab in educational institutions, made three primary findings in its judgment:
  • First, it held that the use of a hijab is not essential to the practice of Islam. Thus, the right to freedom of religion was not violated.
  • Second, it ruled that there exists no substantive right to freedom of expression or privacy inside a classroom and, therefore, these rights were simply not at stake here. It held classrooms as “qualified public spaces” where individual rights must give way to the interests of “general discipline and decorum”.
  • Third, it held that the ban did not stem directly out of the government’s order, which only called for a uniform dress code to be prescribed by the State or school management committees, and, hence, the law did not discriminate, either directly or indirectly, against Muslim students.


2. Legacy of Development by Jawaharlal Nehru.

Theme : Post-Independence India

Related Paper : GS - 1


  1. Context
  2. Jawahar Lal Nehru
  3. Ideas of Nehru
  4. Nehru’s Institutions
  5. Management Model of Nehru

Context :
After 75 years of Independence, It's time to Remember Nehru’s Legacy.

Jawahar Lal Nehru :

  • Nehru met Gandhiji in 1916 and was drawn to him instantly. He became his close friend, follower, and associate.
  • He was involved in the non-cooperation movement in 1920 and was imprisoned for the first time.
  • Nehru also played his part in making the struggles of the people of the princely states align with the freedom movement in British India.
  • He was the party president in the Lahore session (1929) when the declaration of complete independence as the goal of the freedom movement was passed.
  • Nehru was at the forefront of various movements like the Salt Satyagraha and the Quit India Movement and was arrested a total of nine times by the British.
  • From 1946, he was elected the president of the congress party and served as its president for three more terms.
  • Nehru headed the interim government of India in 1946. He became the first prime minister of Independent India.
  • Nehru’s vision of a united India led to the speedy integration of the princely states into the Indian Dominion.
  • Nehru, as prime minister, advocated a mixed economy. He established heavy industries believing them to be essential to the development of a country. But there were also heavy controls and regulations of the industry.
  • He was a founder and leader of the Non-Aligned Movement.
  • He was a prolific author and some of his works are ‘The Discovery of India’ and ‘Glimpses of World History’.
  • Since 1957, his birth anniversary has been celebrated as ‘Children’s Day’ in India.

Ideas of Nehru :

Nehru’s vision of India was anchored in a set of ideas such as:

  • Democracy
  • Secularism
  • Inclusive economic growth
  • Free press
  • Non-alignment in international affairs and also in institutions

Nehru’s Institutions :

  • Temples of modern India: Nehru dubbed our factories, research laboratories, irrigation dams and power stations as the temples of modern India.

  • These institutions touched every kind of economic activity, ranging from agriculture to aviation and space research.

  • There were around 75 of these institutions including the:

    • Bhakra-Nangal dam

    • Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited

    • All India Institute of Medical Sciences

    • LIC

    • Oil and Natural Gas Corporation

    • Indian Oil Corporation

    • National Library of India

    • National Institute of Design

  • Nehru saw these institutions occupying the commanding heights of a stable, self-sustaining economy with people’s welfare as their central mission. His inclusive vision ensured that these institutions spanned the entire social spectrum.

  • Balanced approach: His inclusive vision ensured that these institutions spanned the entire social spectrum.

    • When the IITs were planned, Nehru also established a network of Kendriya Vidyalayas.

    • Along with large projects in steel and petroleum, he also set up the Khadi and Village Industries Commission.

    • When Bhilai, Durgapur and Rourkela were taking shape as functional townships, he also felt the need for a well-designed, modern city and thus was born Chandigarh.

  • Triumph of democracy along with development: The establishment of the Election Commission of India and the Planning Commission manifests this. They relate to the fundamentals of the Nehruvian vision.

  • Many of these institutions, over the years, rose to global standards.

    • Indian Oil became the first Indian company to be listed in the Fortune 100, in 2014.

    • Amul emerged as the country’s best-known consumer brand and India became the largest milk producer in the world.

Management Model of Nehru :

Nehru’s time saw Seismic Shift in Indian Economy :

  • Green Revolution: It transformed India from a basket case to a grain-exporting nation.

  • Telephone revolution: It changed the telephone from being a symbol of elite lifestyle to mass ownership.

3. Dark Matter

Theme : Space Technology

Related Paper : GS - 3


  1. Context
  2. Dark Matter
  3. Dark Energy
  4. Difference between Dark Matter & Dark Energy
  5. Assessing Dark Matter
  6. XENON1T Experiment
  7. The Theory of General Relativity
  8. What particles are utilized to observe dark matter?

Context : In the United States, a highly sensitive experiment called LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) was recently utilized to find dark matter in the Universe.

Dark Matter : 

  • The Swiss astronomer Fritz Zwicky first used the term "dark matter" in the 1930s. He studied the so-called Coma galaxy cluster and, specifically, how fast it revolves.
  • Dark matter is made up of particles with no charge.
  • As a result, these particles are "dark" because they do not emit light, which is an electromagnetic phenomenon, and "matter" because they have mass like conventional matter and interact via gravity.
  • Only 5% of the observable universe is made up of matter, with the remaining 95% made up of dark matter and dark energy.
  • So far, gravitational force is poorly understood due to its incredibly weak force, which makes it difficult to detect any particle that interacts with gravitational force.

The visible cosmos we see is the consequence of different interactions between the four fundamental forces operating on particles, which are as follows:

  • Strong nuclear force
  • Weak nuclear force
  • Electromagnetic force
  • Gravitation

Dark Energy : 

  • Dark Energy is a proposed form of energy that acts in the opposite direction of gravity, exerting a negative, repulsive pull.
  • It has been proposed to explain the observable characteristics of distant types of supernovae, which show that the universe is expanding at a faster rate.
  • Dark Energy, like Dark Matter, is inferred rather than directly detected from studies of gravitational interactions between astronomical objects.

Difference between Dark Matter & Dark Energy :

  • Dark matter is an enticing force, a cosmic mortar that ties our universe together.
  • This is due to the fact that dark matter interacts with gravity while not reflecting, absorbing, or emitting light. Dark energy, on the other hand, is a repulsive force, a type of anti-gravity that inhibits the expansion of the universe.
  • Dark energy is by far the more powerful of the two, accounting for roughly 68 percent of the total mass and energy of the universe.
  • Dark matter accounts for 27% of all matter. The remaining 5% is all of the regular matter we see and interact with on a daily basis.
  • This also serves to accelerate the expansion of the cosmos.

Assessing dark matter :

The researchers use the non-observation of the lensing signatures to assess what fraction of the dark matter could be made of black holes. Gravitational lensing is useful to cosmologists because it is directly sensitive to the amount and distribution of dark matter.

What is gravitational lensing? How does it work?

  • Gravitational lensing is an effect of Einstein’s theory of general relativity – simply put, mass bends light.
  • The gravitational field of a massive object will extend far into space, and cause light rays passing close to that object (and thus through its gravitational field) to be bent and refocused somewhere else.
  • The more massive the object, the stronger its gravitational field and hence the greater the bending of light rays – just like using denser materials to make optical lenses results in a greater amount of refraction.

XENON1T Experiment :

  • It is the world’s most sensitive dark matter experiment and was operated deep underground at the INFN Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso in Italy.

  • It uses the dual-phase (liquid/gas) xenon technique and is located underground at the Laboratory Nazionali del Gran Sasso of INFN, Italy

The Theory of General Relativity :

The leading theory, however, considers dark energy a property of space. Albert Einstein was the first to understand that space was not simply empty. He also understood that more space could continue to come into existence. In his theory of general relativity, Einstein included a cosmological constant to account for the stationary universe scientists thought existed.

  • After Hubble announced the expanding universe, Einstein called his constant his “biggest blunder.”
  • But Einstein’s blunder may be the best fit for dark energy. Predicting that empty space can have its own energy, the constant indicates that as more space emerges, more energy would be added to the universe, increasing its expansion.

What particles are utilized to observe dark matter?

  • Neutrinos would have been highly beneficial in detecting dark matter, but they are too light and so ineffective.
  • Several more things have been hypothesized, including the Z boson's supersymmetry companion, a particle that mediates the electro-weak interaction.