The Supreme Court will on Monday continue its hearing on the Hindutva case which deals with electoral malpractices arising out of its 1995 judgment. Earlier, during the hearing by a seven judge Constitutional bench, the apex court had said that it won’t reconsider 1995 judgment which defined Hindutva as ‘a way of life and not a religion’.
The observations came after an on interlocutory application filed by social activist Teesta Setalvad requested the bench to reconsider the 95 judgment. A seven-judge constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur, said the court will not go into the larger debate as to what is Hindutva or what its meaning is and will not reconsider the 1995 judgment.
The remarks were made by the bench when some advocates sought to intervene in the ongoing hearing which commenced last Tuesday. Setalvad had sought the Supreme Court’s intervention in the matter with an application stating that religion and politics should not be mixed and a direction be passed to delink religion from politics.
The apex court bench also comprised Justices M B Lokur, S A Bobde, A K Goel, U U Lalit, D Y Chandrachud and L Nageshwar Rao. The apex court instead took up a separate plea filed in 1990 whether seeking of votes in the name of religion will amount to a corrupt practice under the Representation of the People Act warranting disqualification.
It may be recalled that the Bombay High Court had set aside the election of Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi in the mid-1990s. The matter was then moved to Supreme Court, which in 1995 overturned the high court order saying Hindutva is a way of life.
Since then, the issue was raised in the top court many times, including in 2002 when the court referred the matter to a seven-judge bench for clarity.