Legal impediments are unlikely to deter the party when it feels that the raising of religious fervour is the only way to overcome the government’s inability to keep its promise of vikas. While the RSS’ Mohan Bhagwat is calling for an ordinance to start building Ram temple, the BJP has decided to make full use of the Sabarimala issue even though it involves flouting the landmark Supreme Court judgment.
Judges are merely ‘black-robed homo sapiens’ and many have observed the direct linkage between public opinion and the behaviour of judges that arise from the force of mutually experienced events and ideas in shaping and reshaping the preferences of both the public and the judges.
The powerful and praiseworthy dissents of judges like HR Khanna, M Hidayatullah have always spoken in the favour of protecting the sanctity of Part III of the Constitution while the dissent of Justice Indu Malhotra puts restrictions on the bounds of Article 14 of the Constitution. The non-application of Article 14 in religious matters would go against the very basic principles of the Constitution.
Since the challenge in Ismail Faruqui was based upon the argument, inter alia, that a mosque cannot be acquired and the observations made by the Constitution Bench were in the context of acquisition only and are not to be read broadly, nor will have any effect whatsoever upon the present appeals against the 2010 High Court verdict, the apprehensions of the Muslim side, upon whom reference of Ismail Faruqui to a larger bench was sought, stands addressed to a large extent.
The right to privacy squarely includes an individual’s right to make a moral choice, whether it is with regards to marriage, food, attire, ideology or religion, inter alia. While there is not much judicial discourse on this essential right against moral paternalism, the Kerala High Court recently passed a remarkable judgment recognising an individual’s right against moral paternalism.
On July 20, 2018, after nine hearings of vociferous and heated arguments stretching from March 14, 2018, the Supreme Court of India, the repository of the best amongst the intelligentsia, reserved its verdict on the issue as to whether the 1994 verdict of theirs in Dr. M. Ismail Faruqui Vs. Union of India [(1994) 6 SCC 360] needs a reconsideration or not. It is yet to be seen whether the Supreme Court, represented by the select intelligentsia of the country are convinced enough to walk the path of secularism in a way that ensures equal treatment to all.
Already, religious lobbies use Section 295A and insist on the importance of its existence is representative of their intentions to attack free speech and silence criticism. IPC 295 AA, as it is called in Punjab, now proposes to punish ‘whoever causes injury, damage or sacrilege to Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Srimad Bhagwad Gita, Holy Quran and Holy Bible with the intention to hurt the religious feelings of the people’ with imprisonment for life.
One of the most fierce and vociferous opposition to LGBTQ+ rights has come from religious lobbies — be it the evangelical Christians in the USA running gay conversion therapy camps, or Baba Ramdev claiming that he can “cure” homosexuality through yoga, or the All India Muslim Personal Law Board. But the premise of human rights and liberty cannot be somebody else’s right to religion.
Senior Advocate Indira Jaising — appearing for the petitioner Tushar Gandhi — submitted to the Court that all states be directed to upload the compliance report on their respective websites and that due publicity is given to the directions passed by the Court to curb the menace of mob lynching.
Paired with the fact that a suit can be filed at any of the 600 district courts across the nation, Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code prima facie seems facilitative of abuse and harassment. This misuse was pre-empted by the Section’s drafting committee which feared that it might be used to target not just the ‘scurrilous scribbler’, but also any form criticism or mere comment upon religious matters.
FGM is a harmful practice that scars girl children for life, resulting in severe psychological and sexual dysfunction, while being an assault on the dignity, autonomy and bodily integrity of its female victims. How can it be termed an ‘essential religious practice’ and protected as such under Article 25 when it violates Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution?
Senior advocate Jaising presented that rights of the deity are restricted for to matters, limited to maintenance of properties and the taxation related issues. Jaising held that this principle has been consistently maintained in the Indian legal jurisprudence since the time of Privy Council and the Judicial Committee decisions, so must apply in Sabarimala as well, and shouldn’t infringe upon fundamental rights of women as citizens.