Today on Tuesday the seven judges of Supreme court will analyze the two decade old controversy about Hinduism. They will re-examine the word ‘Hinduism’ and its uses by politicians at the time of seeking votes.
The seven judges- Chief Justice T S Thakur and justices S A Bodbe, DY Chandrachud, MB Lokur, L Nageswara Rao, AK Goel and UU Lalit will hear the case.
2 decades ago in 1995 the SC allowed the politicians to want votes by using the words like “Hinduism” and “Hindutva”. The court gave its verdict that Hinduism is not a religion but a way of life.
A question was raised that if a politician in the name of ‘Hinduism’ seeks vote would it be consider as a corrupt practices under the Representation of People’s Act. The apex court then answered that seeking votes in the name of “Hinduism” is not a corrupt practice under Section 123 of the Representation of the People’s Act.
The hearing of the SC comes at a time when only one month is left for assembly elections in five states. Including in Uttar Pradesh where ‘Hinduism’ played a crucial role at the time of judgment on Ram temple at Ayodhya.
In 1995, the three-judge SC bench led by Justice JS Verma rejected the Bombay High Court’s order that discarded the elections of nine BJP candidates as they wanted votes to create a “Hindu state”.
At that time the court ruled that BJP leader Manoha Joshi’s statement “First Hindu state will be established in Maharashtra” was not illegal. Justice Verma said, “It may well be that these words (Hindutva/Hinduism) are used in the speech to promote secularism and to emphasize the way of life of the Indian people and the Indian culture or ethos.”
But after the verdict activists and jurists strongly criticized it and Verma’s rule was immediately challenged. A year later a three-judge bench proposed a five-judge SC bench would re-look the case. When the five-bench judge re-examined the case, a similar matter in 2002 regarding BJP person Sunderlam Patwa was come forth. Then the decision was taken that a seven-bench judge will hear the case again.