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Supreme Court bans use of religion in election 

New Delhi: Politicians are barred from seeking votes in the name of religion, caste or creed the Supreme Court ruled today in a landmark judgment, ahead of crucial assembly polls+ in five states.

The court also ruled that seeking votes in this manner will be deemed a corrupt practice and not permissible.

The court’s bench said today by a 4:3 majority that elections are a secular exercise and that the relationship between people and whom they worship is an individual choice. Therefore, the state is forbidden to interfere in such an activity, the court said.

A 7-judge constitution bench passed the judgement in the Hindutva case+ after hearing arguments from various petitioners/respondents.

The top court was examining a politically explosive question arising out of a plea filed in 1990.

That question – Will a religious leader’s appeal to his followers to vote for a particular political party amount to electoral malpractice under Section 123 of the Representation of People Act.

The court gave a wider meaning to Section 123 of the Representation of People Act to stamp out the use of religion and community affiliation from elections, The Times of India reported.

Chief Justice T S Thakur, justices M B Lokur, S A Bobde and L N Rao favoured rooting out religion from election, while Justices A K Goel, U U Lalit and D Y Chandrachud were in a minority on the issue.

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2 Responses to Supreme Court bans use of religion in election

  1. chhotebhai

    This is a nebulous issue, as evident from the – split verdict.I am the President of the Kanpur Catholic Association, and earlier the National President of the All India Catholic Union. Though I do not belong to a political party I have always issued “guidelines” for voting. Can this be construed to be a malpractice or misuse of religion? If a particular political party raises contentious religious issues have I not the right to ask my people to oppose such a party? Rather than a blanket judgement there should be a case by case review, and the Election Commission should lay down the norms, not the Supreme Court.

  2. Achachan

    In India all parties claim that they are for secularism. Then why any opposition to the judgment ?

    It is strange that the three judges held a different view. It means there is opposition to secularism among judiciary. It is a sad thing indeed.