Hindutva Judgement Struck a Powerful Blow at Our Secular Democracy: Markandey Katju

Written by | October 26, 2016 | 0

New Delhi: The Supreme Court judgment of 1995 in Manohar Joshi vs. N.B. Patil, 1995 (see online) was one of the most disgraceful judgments delivered by the Indian Supreme Court, and ranks along with the MISA judgment (ADM Jabalpur vs. Shivakant Shukla) as a huge stain on the Indian judiciary and on our democracy.

India has a secular Constitution, as the preamble to it clearly says. Appeals in the name of religion in elections are a corrupt practice vide section 123(3) of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951.

And yet in the Manohar Joshi judgment a 3 judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice J.S. Verma held that an appeal in the name of Hindutva or Hinduism is not an appeal in the name of religion, since according to the judges, Hinduism or Hindutva is a way of life and represents the culture of India, and of all people of India, whether Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, etc.

Manohar Joshi, a Shiv Sena candidate, in an election speech said that he will make Maharashtra a Hindu state. If this is not an appeal in the name of religion, one wonders what is ?

The Supreme Court reasoning was bogus, sophistic and specious. Words in a speech must be seen in the context in which they are used.

It could not possibly have been overlooked by the Court that these words were uttered in election speeches, and the audience would definitely have understood them to mean an appeal in the name of religion.

What would one think of an appeal in the name of Islamiyat? Would that not be an appeal in the name of religion, just like an appeal in the name of Hindutva?

To my mind this judgement struck a powerful blow at our secular democracy, and gave a handle to all kinds of right wing reactionaries to justify their nefarious activities.

The recent 7 judge bench order of the Supreme Court refusing to revisit the Manohar Joshi judgment on a specious reasoning is deeply regrettable, as the Court has missed a golden opportunity of correcting one of its most deplorable and outrageous errors.

Filed in: National

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