The Telangana High Court has recently issued a significant directive to the Central and State governments regarding birth certificate applications. In a case titled Sandepu Swaroopa V. Union of India and Ors, Justice Lalitha Kanneganti, while hearing a writ petition filed by parents seeking 'no religion' and 'no caste' options in their child's birth certificate, ruled that citizens have the right to not specify their religion or caste.The court emphasised that every citizen has the right to not follow or profess any religion, as guaranteed by Article 25 of the Indian Constitution. Justice Kanneganti stressed that the authorities should act in accordance with the rights enshrined in the Constitution and adapt to the changing requirements of citizens. The court cannot overlook the legitimate requirements of citizens, and it is the duty of the constitutional court to ensure these rights are respected.The petitioners argued that in a secular country like India, application forms should not compel citizens to declare a religion against their will. Even during the Census, there is no separate category for 'non-religious' individuals. The Registrar General and Census Commissioner informed the court that citizens can already choose not to belong to any religion during the census enumeration.The court granted an interim order directing the relevant authorities, including the Principal Secretary for School Education and the Commissioner of Municipal Administration, to include columns for 'No caste' and 'No religion' in online birth certificate application forms.The court deemed the denial of such options to be against the secular spirit of the Indian Constitution and a violation of Articles 14, 19, 21 and 25. The ruling ensures that citizens' freedom of conscience is respected and protected, allowing individuals to exercise their right to choose not to practice any religion or caste.