The constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom. A rarely enforced law prohibits blasphemy in various forms and penalizes it with fines and imprisonment.
The constitution permits individuals to choose or change their religion. The constitution categorizes the right to religious freedom as a “personal right and freedom” and states that any violation can be brought before a court of justice. The constitution provides that no individual shall be discriminated against on the grounds of religion. The government does not favor a particular religion, and no tenets of a particular religion are codified in criminal or civil laws.
The government does not require religious groups to register and does not establish requirements for recognition of religious groups.
The government does not permit religious instruction in public schools, although public schools celebrate various religious holidays. Parents may not homeschool children for religious or other reasons; however, they may enroll their children in private schools, many of which have a religious affiliation. Some religious groups manage their own primary and secondary schools, which include religious instruction. Students in public schools are allowed to wear religious symbols.
The government provides limited subsidies to a number of public elementary and secondary schools established and managed by various religious groups. While the teachers are civil service employees and the schools are public, religious groups provide all funding, with the exception of teachers’ salaries and a small maintenance stipend for the schools. Government-subsidized private schools run by religious groups accept students of all ethnicities and religions.
The armed forces maintain a chaplaincy, with Hindu, Muslim, Protestant, and Catholic clergy available to military personnel of all religious groups. While the chaplaincy provides interfaith services, personnel are also welcome to attend outside religious services.
The government currently observes the following religious holidays as national holidays: Holi Phagwa, Diwali, Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, Good Friday, Easter Monday, and Christmas.