Seeking votes on the basis of religion and caste is illegal: Supreme Court

Team SoOLEGAL 2 Jan 2017 11:21am

Seeking votes on the basis of religion and caste is illegal: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court said on Monday that seeking votes in the name of candidate or voter or an opponent’s religion, caste, race community and language is illegal, a significant judgment ahead of crucial assembly elections in five states where faith is a top poll issue.

A seven-judge SC bench headed by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur – who retires on Tuesday – is revisiting a 20-year-old judgment that called Hinduism a “way of life” and said a candidate was not affected prejudicially if votes were sought on this plank.

But several petitions filed over the years have challenged the verdict.

The question before the top court is whether seeking votes in the name of religion was a corrupt practice under the Representation of the People Act, and if candidates who indulge in this exercise should be disqualified.

The judgment will have far-reaching implications in states that go to the polls just months from now, especially in Uttar Pradesh, where the construction of a Ram Temple in Ayodhya continues to be a poll plank. In Punjab too, religion and sacrilege are top campaign issues.

During the hearing, the SC had said elections were a secular exercise and religion should be separated from political processes

“Our basic ethos is secularism…..elections are a secular issue. Can religion be brought into the secular arena? Do we allow religion to be the basis of electoral politics,” Thakur had wondered.


Source: Hindustan Times

Tagged: Supreme Court of India  
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