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Discussit Religious
 

Discussit Religious

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    Discussit Religious Discussit Religious Document Transcript

    • %,EI?KII1J& Read on ................................... Religious Politics v/s considers the promotion of, or attempt to promote, feelings of enmity or hatred between different the Law of the Land classes of the citizens of India on grounds of religion, race, caste, community, or language, for the - K. Sriraj furtherance of the prospects of the election of that candidate or for prejudicially affecting the election In India, despite all talk of secularism, religion has played an important of any candidate, to be a corrupt part in the elections. Are there laws that seek to prevent this? Should the practice. These provisions were arrested Shankaracharya have been dealt with differently? To understand used by the Bombay High Court these issues, read on… and later by the Supreme Court to 6 annul the election of Dr. Ramesh he Preamble to the given hints to its believers on Yashwant Prabhoo. To explain, Dr. Indian Constitution which party to vote for. Divide and Ramesh Yashwant Prabhoo was declares India to be a rule was a British doctrine for elected to the Maharashtra “SECULAR India, the first reference in the Legislative Assembly from 38-Vile DEMOCRATIC history of India of divisive passion Parle Assembly Constituency in a REPUBLIC”. Though the term incited among masses using bye-election held in December secular has been deliberately left religion. 1987. But his opponent challenged undefined, it is generally accepted his election on the grounds that he to mean that the government will Section 123 (3) of the along with his Chief, Bal be neutral on religious issues. But Thackeray, had made an appeal to Representation of the going by experience, political vote for him on grounds of his People Act, 1951, parties that fight the elections to religion. One of the pamphlets that considers any appeal to form a government have had no were allegedly distributed read, scruples in using religion for “Think before you vote. Remember vote or refrain from political purposes. The forms taken about the saviour of Hindu religion voting for any person on vary; it could be the ‘hard and Shri Shivaji... remember his the ground of his Hindutva’ of the BJP or the ‘soft struggle with sword and shield Hindutva’ of the Congress. One religion, race caste, (Prabhoo’s election symbol). You example of how religion is used for are under oath of the saffron flag community or language political purposes should suffice to and the existence of Hindu or the use of, or appeal drive this point home. Recently religion.’’ The Bombay High to religious symbols to when the Election Commission Court, by its judgment and order announced the dates of U.P. dated 7th April, 1989, declared the be a corrupt practice. election the VHP immediately election of Dr. Prabhoo as void on organised a Yatra ahead of election the ground of commission of schedule. The idea was to mobilise While it is a known fact that corrupt practices under Sections the electorate on religious lines. political parties have been using 123 (3) and 123 (3A) of the The Congress has also used this religion to mobilise support, ever Representation of the People Act, when Rajiv Gandhi reversed the wondered what the law says? 1951. On appeal, the Supreme Shah Bano judgement and laid the Section 123 (3) of the Court initially stayed the operation foundation of Ramjanambhumi. Representation of the People Act, of the High Court’s judgment and The minority community is also 1951, considers any appeal to vote order. But, by its final order dated not averse to the use of religion. or refrain from voting for any 11th December 1995, the Supreme The Imam of Jumma Masjid has person on the ground of his Court also dismissed the appeal of very often exhorted Muslims to religion, race caste, community or Dr. Prabhoo and upheld the vote for a particular party. language or the use of, or appeal decision of the High Court. Similarly, the Church in some to religious symbols to be a corrupt Following this the Election states has in course of its sermons practice. Section 123 (3A), also Commission disqualified both Dr.
    • %,EI?KII1J& Read on ................................... Ramesh Yeshwant Prabhoo and religion is not news, another facet the evidence that the police have Thackeray for a period of six years. of religion and politics, a religious collected against the But the Supreme Court leader trying to assume a political Shankaracharya. They feel as the judgement, on December 11, 1995, role is. This was precisely what the head of an important Hindu setting aside the decision of the now incarcerated Sankaracharya organisation, the Shankaracharya Bombay High Court, which had of the Kancheepuram Mutt, should have total immunity. Let’s earlier, held the election of the Jayendra Saraswati was look at what the law of the land Maharashtra Chief Minister, Mr. attempting to do. Even before he says in this regard. According to Manohar Joshi, void, has added a became the Sankaracharya of the Article 14 of the Indian new dimension to the issue. In its Kancheepuram Mutt in 1994, Constitution, the State shall not judgement, the court declared the Jayendra had tried to shift the deny to any person, equality before word ‘Hinduism’ by itself does not focus of the Mutt from its primary the law or the equal protection of invariably mean Hindu religion activities of religion, Vedas and the laws within the territory of and it is the context and manner of prayer towards people’s India. If the Shankaracharya, by its use which is material”. mobilisation (through the Jan virtue of his position, is given Secondly, “a mere statement that Kalyan and Jan Jagran immunity, it naturally violates the the first Hindu State will be movements), and through it in a rights of other Indians. In India, established in Maharashtra is by direct interest in elections and even the President does not enjoy itself not an appeal for votes on the politics. His biggest opportunity to full immunity. Article 361 of the ground of his (Manohar Joshi’s) capture the limelight came when Indian Constitution provides the religion, but the expression, at best, he tried to play the role of a President immunity against of such a hope. The Bench observed mediator in the Ram Janmabhoomi criminal proceedings only, whilst it is difficult to appreciate how, “… issue. Though his attempt ended in civil proceedings with respect to the term ‘Hindutva’ or ‘Hinduism’ a big fiasco, it highlighted a new his personal acts can be instituted per se, in the abstract, can be facet of the link between religion in a Court, two months after a assumed to mean and be equated and politics. notice of such action in writing is with religious bigotry or be The Shankaracharya arrest has delivered to him. It was in keeping construed to fall within the sparked off a new controversy. with this spirit of the law that the prohibition in subsections (3) and/ Should religious figures be treated Supreme Court removed the Single or (3A) of section 123 of the differently or with distinction? Directive requiring permission to Representation of the People Act.” This demand, as is to be expected, investigate civil servants. This decision adds to the has come from those who call Furthermore, in the Sankararaman ambiguity on the issue. themselves “guardians of Hindu killing, for which the Acharya was While political leaders using culture”. They are not interested in arrested, 19 of the 22 accused are in custody. So, the need to deal with the Acharya differently does not rise. In conclusion, one can only agree with what the Father of Nation once said, “Religion is a personal matter which should have no place in politics.” But he also said, “Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is.” However, religion for him was as a moral foundation in dharma. A tool for moral doing has been distorted to an extent that it rises before our very eyes as the weapon of its undoing.