Supreme Court dismisses PIL seeking setting up of a Renaming Commission to restore original names of places changed by ‘foreign invaders’

The public interest litigation, filed by politician and lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, was accused of being selective and targeting a particular community by the court.


THE Supreme Court on Monday took a dim view of the public interest litigation filed by Bharatiya Janata Party leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay seeking direction to the Union government to set up a ‘Renaming Commission’ to find and restore the original names of historical, cultural and religious places which were changed by “foreign invaders“.

Dismissing the petition, a division bench comprising Justices K.M. Joseph and B.V. Nagarathna told Upadhyay not to dig up the past which will only create disharmony in the society, adding that the history of any nation could not haunt its present and future generations to the point that succeeding generations become prisoners of the past.

The bench also turned down Upadhyay’s fervent request to be allowed to agitate the issue before the government, adding that the court could not become an instrument to create havoc.

The bench accused Upadhyay of taking up the issue of re-examining the past selectively and targeting a particular community.

India is a secular country; this is a secular forum. We are supposed to protect the Constitution, which means to protect all sections [of the society],” the bench said.

During the hearing, Justice Joseph told Upadhyay that Hinduism is perhaps “the greatest religion in terms of metaphysics”, adding that Upadhyay should not belittle it as there is no place for bigotry in Hinduism.

I can say I am Christian but am equally fond of Hinduism and have tried to study it. Try and understand its greatness. Do not use it for a particular purpose, Justice Joseph told Upadhyay.

Justice Nagarathna added that Hinduism is a way of life, and it does not allow bigotry.

Upadhyay contended that India is celebrating its 75th anniversary of independence but there are many ancient historical, cultural and religious places named after brutal foreign invaders, and successive governments have not taken any steps to correct the barbaric act of invaders, continuing the injury.

Finding no merit in the petition, the bench said that India being invaded several times is a fact of history that could not be wished away.

Click here to read the order.