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SC bench of seven judges to start hearing on ‘Hindutva’ judgement

The bench wanted to know whether an appeal by a priest for supporting a candidate in the name of god or religion would attract provisions of the Representation of People Act pertaining to "corrupt practice".

By: PTI | New Delhi | Published: October 18, 2016 8:22 pm
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The Supreme Court Tuesday commenced hearing to revisit its two-decade-old ‘Hindutva’ judgement for an authoritative pronouncement on electoral law categorising misuse of religion for electoral gains as “corrupt practice”.

A seven-judge bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur decided to go ahead with the hearing, ignoring the request of some parties in the matter to involve Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi for his assistance.

“Are you saying that in every case which relates to interpretation of a legislation, assistance of the Attorney General is needed,” the bench, also comprising justices Madan B Lokur, S A Bobde, A K Goel, U U Lalit, D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao, asked the counsel who had raised the issue of assistance by the top law officer.

The bench began the hearing grappling with issues which could be examined by it and wanted to know whether some of them can be remanded back to a smaller bench of five or three judges. Senior advocate Arvind Datar, who set the ball rolling at the crucial hearing, submitted that the case of his client BJP leader Abhiram Singh should be separated from this hearing as all the similarly situated people have already got relief from the apex court.

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He said the appeal filed in 1992 by Singh, whose election to 1990 Maharashtra Assembly was set aside in 1991 by the Bombay High Court, has wrongly been tagged to the main petition of Narayan Singh whose appeal by the five judge bench was referred to the seven judges.

Datar submitted that the high court had set aside his election as it was alleged that other BJP leaders in their speeches had referred to religion to garner votes for him.

The senior advocate said there were 10 such appeals against the high court order and, except in two, the election of others were restored by the apex court and therefore, Abhiram Singh should be treated on the same footing and his appeal should be remanded back to three-judge bench.

He made reference to the similar relief secured by former Maharashtra Chief Minister Manohar Joshi contending that there was no conflict in that judgement.

Datar said in 1990, two such speeches were made, one by late Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray and another by late Pramod Mahajan in which reference to ‘Hindutva’ was made to garner votes for the Shiv Sena and BJP candidates.

While the submissions were being made, the bench deliberated on the likely situations that could emerge from such issues and whether those could invite the interpretation of electoral laws.

The bench wanted to know whether an appeal by a priest or a cleric to voters for supporting a candidate in the name of god or religion would attract provisions of the Representation of People Act pertaining to “corrupt practice”.

The bench was examining the interpretation of section 123 of the 1951 Representation of People Act pertaining to “corrupt practice”.

The apex court in February 2014 had tagged Abhiram Singh’s petition with others in which the five judge bench had decided in 2002 to re-visit its 20-year old ‘Hindutva’ judgement for an authoritative pronouncement on electoral laws by a seven judge bench.

The issue assumes significance as questions were raised on its 1995 verdict which held that vote in the name of “Hindutva/Hinduism” did not prejudicially affect any candidate, and since then three election petitions are pending on the subject in the apex court.

The apex court’s three-judge bench in 1995 had held that “Hindutva/Hinduism is a way of life of the people in the sub-continent” and “is a state of mind”.

The judgement was delivered in the case of Manohar Joshi versus N B Patil which was authored by Justice J S Verma who found that the statement by Joshi that the ‘first Hindu State will be established in Maharashtra’ did not amount to appeal on ground of religion”.

The observation was made while dealing with the question regarding the scope of corrupt practices as mentioned in sub-section (3) of Section 123 of the 1951 Representation of People Act.

The issue for interpretation of the sub-section once again arose on January 30, 2014 before a five-judge which referred it for examination before a larger bench of seven judges.

The seven judges is dealing with the appeal filed in 1992 by Abhiram Singh, whose election to 1990 Maharashtra Assembly was set aside in 1991 by the Bombay High Court.

A three-judge bench on April 16, 1992 had referred to a five-judge Constitution Bench Singh’s appeal in which the same question and interpretation of sub-section (3) of Section 123 of the Act was raised.

While the five-judge bench was hearing this matter on January 30, 2014, it was informed that an identical issue was raised in an election petition filed by Narayan Singh against BJP leader Sunderlal Patwa and the another Constitution Bench of five judges of the apex court had referred it to a larger bench of seven judges.

Thereafter, the five-judge bench had referred Singh’s matter also to the Chief Justice for placing it before a seven-judge bench.

The January 30, 2014, order said, “Be that as it may, since one of the questions involved in the present appeal is already referred to a larger bench of seven judges, we think it appropriate to refer this appeal to a limited extent regarding interpretation of sub-section (3) of Section 123 of the 1951 Act to a larger bench of seven judges.

“The Registry will place the matter before the Chief Justice for constitution of a bench of seven judges. The matter may be listed subject to the order of the Chief Justice.”

The apex court had also noted that “in the course of arguments, our attention has been invited to the order of this court dated August 20, 2002 in Narayan Singh vs Sunderlal Patwa. By this order, a Constitution Bench of five judges has referred the question regarding the scope of corrupt practice mentioned in sub-section (3) of Section 123 of the 1951 Act to a larger bench of seven judges.

“This became necessary in view of the earlier decision of a Constitution Bench of this court in Kultar Singh vs Mukhtiar Singh,” the court had said.

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  1. Gundappa Srinivas
    Oct 21, 2016 at 10:44 am
    Helpless citizens like me placing the following:lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;1) Positive projection of views of religion to be encouraged and not condemnedlt;br/gt;2) The extreme condemnation and abuse of religion also should be stopped, the tragedy in India is all people condemn and abuse Hinduism, the secular rationalists they stand first in abusing Hinduism but remain mute when it comes to other religions. We have seen this in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Kerala etc. Supreme Court should seriously stop thislt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;3) Supreme court you tell hindutva is bad, buy why allow Hindu Temples be controlled by Government, many Hindu temples all management is monitored by the state and central governments, but there is no church or mosque which Government is monitoring lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;4) Praising positively any religion and highlighting its good essence is not a sin, but telling our religion alone is to heaven is to be avoidedlt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;5) See the tragedy the secular political parties, leftists etc. for them IUML and other minority parties they are secular, but BJP communallt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;6) Supreme court you find fault in Hinduism, but the way the congress, leftists and other seculars ganged up and destro Shah Banu verdict of yours, how come you have not given these parties and secularists like Teesta and her group a tongue lashinglt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;7) Worst is the Governments have abandoned teaching basic human values in schools, educational insutes telling it is religious, but the same Government encourages Alcohol, Betting , smoking, chewing tobacco and absurd practices of Clubs like Bangalore Club, Kolkata Clubs who disallow Indians who wear traditional Indian dress, these clubs still are following the British Legacy shamelesslylt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;8) Worst is the policies where in you even the Judges, IAS officers, other officials, etc. they all are ashamed to wear Indian simple dress. If we wear simple Khadi dress we are treated as beggars and the Supreme Court if any lawyer wears simple khadi and hawai slippers you judges might have him arrested for insulting court. The courts want the judges and lawyers and all wear the costliest suit, shoes etc.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;9) Even in educational insutes the concept of ties, management students wearing suits and IT companies insisting on specific westernized dress is utter shameless and insulting to Hinduismlt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;10) Supreme Court of India , The High Court’s the various other courts the way you give judgments, bails, is shocking, stunning, painful and very tragic the . Supreme Court Judgments which depicts Decline in Indian Ethos and Public Conviction lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;• Very Long back a PIL in Supreme Court regarding ban of betting in Horse Race was set aside, they SC said betting is not unethical and crime. Being in Bangalore for the past 46 years, I have seen thousands of families which have been ruined because of betting in Horse races. But for Supreme Court, let people bet, it is not crime.lt;br/gt;• Now the same SC instead of giving PAT on the back of Maharashtra Government have criticized them for their policy in reducing alcohol in dance clubs . Mahatma hi and other great leaders and reformers struggled all through their life to reduce this drink culture, but the Supreme Court says that Maharashtra Government is acting in a very unethical way in regulating this. What happens in Dance clubs, if drink is allowed people will lose control over their mind, body and might indulge in unlawful actions, so this ban of drinking was thought, also the CCTV installation was because if untoward incidents happen this can be investigated. The Hotel and Bar owners their only aim is let people drink and drink and drink and became uppers let all their wealth come to us is their Business Mantra. Supreme Court instead of praising the Maharashtra Government has abused them, an elected state Government can take steps to reduce the BAD, and how can Supreme Court call this mischievous. Also Supreme Court it is duty of Nation to give free food and shelter to those who have no jobs, going and dancing is not the only source of earning; these women can be trained in some job oriented courses and given Jobs.lt;br/gt;• Supreme Court is Mahatma hi wrong in his advocacy of banning Drinks?lt;br/gt;• Common citizens hared by law if they fight for justice, they are threatened with FIRs, etc.lt;br/gt;• If we talk some good sense they tell, no it is in court you shut your mouthlt;br/gt;• Take some cases after so long investigation, a special court gives judgment, but the other higher court gives bail, what a tragedy (telling the lower court all you have done is nonsense), once again all the process, all the arguments, all the adjournments etc. The Jayalalitha case is clic example of such hard work done which now has been treated has null and void.lt;br/gt;• Also politicians like Lallu and thousands of others with criminality cases including murder, we have now law to ban them from contesting elections.lt;br/gt;• Take the present the Karnataka Government because of their prejudice wanted to stop this Made snana and wasted tax payers money by filing case in High Court, but high court dismissed it, now they want to file in Supreme court another case, so why these kind of dramas, courts not entertain such cases meant on faith, etc.lt;br/gt;• Many VVVIPs, Politicos, Rich Businessmen they misuse law, they do crimes but either an FIR is registered nor they are prosecuted.lt;br/gt;• Adjournments are ruining the cases they be stopped lt;br/gt;• Special Courts judgments, even supreme court not to entertain the appeal by the defeated and dismiss them.lt;br/gt;• What is sad is the High Court of Karnataka, banned bird lovers who used to feed the thousands of pigeons, in many cases we see the Courts are against ecology and sustainable development. lt;br/gt;• The High court can if it makes mind make the cubbon park free of traffic, if they close road which is running inside, but there is no keen interestlt;br/gt;• Though lakhs of hectares of agri lands/farm lands is being destro by NHAI under an useless British act, nobody is topping this damagelt;br/gt;• The Judges like K. Balakrishnana, Dinakaran, etc. what happened to the cases against them, were they punished? If a petty thief does crime he is hared mercilessly.lt;br/gt;• Take the big Defaulters of Banks, the banks shut their mouth, but others they will cease their property and re sell it to recover loanslt;br/gt;• The Income Tax for years they do not take tax from many big people, business tycoons, but send notice to regular payers lt;br/gt;• What was sad is the disturbing judgments which makes a citizen very sad and frustrated like the courts in India have not taken any positive steps to halt the destruction of forest lands, agri landslt;br/gt;• National Green Tribunal also in some cases they act little favorable to ecology but many times supportive of projectslt;br/gt;• Worst is the Karnataka Government amended the tree plantation act but no courts, tribunals sta this, the lakhs of precious trees are being cut in Karnataka by Timber, construction , builder lobbyistslt;br/gt;• Worst the courts have failed to ban the polluting and destructive structures in reserve forests, the trekking, the vehicle movements etc.lt;br/gt;• How come in Yadav in Bihar who killed a man was set on bail?lt;br/gt;• In Bangalore the public in many aspects suffering from lack of facilities like foot paths, bus shelters, toilets, no ramps, no dedicated penger crossings how come the courts have been silent