SC declines to reconsider 1995 verdict of defining Hindutva
The Supreme Court refused the plea by a group of activists asking to check it’s 1995 verdict defining Hindutva or Hinduism as a “way of life” and added that the ongoing session has nothing to do with “narrow fundamentalist Hindu religious bigotry”.
Cheif Justice of India T.S. Thakur led seven-member bench made it clear that the apex court is only perusing what constitutes corrupt electoral practice under Section 123 (3) of The Representation of the People Act, 1951. The court said that it would not be going to larger issues such as a definition of “Hindutva”.
The Court is hearing arguments specifically on taking the services of religious leaders amounts to a corrupt electoral practice.
Social activist Teesta Setalvad, retired professor and theatre activist Shamsul Islam and senior journalist moved a joint application in Supreme court appealing the interpretation in the 1995 judgment by Justice J.S. Verma led to “Hindutva becoming a mark of nationalism and citizenship.”
Three petitioners requested the apex court to overrule the Ramesh Yeshwant Prabhoo versus Prabhakar K. Kunte verdict which had “devastating consequences” in Indian political scenario. They have noted that “narrow and supremacist” readings of interpretations of history, culture, social studies and law makeup a threat to fundamentals of nationhood.
Justice Verma’s 1995 verdict was concluded by saying “no precise meaning can be ascribed to the terms `Hindu’, `Hindutva’ and `Hinduism’; and no meaning in the abstract can confine it to the narrow limits of religion alone, excluding the content of Indian culture and heritage”
Defining Hindutva as a way of life of the people in India, he rejected the notion of equating Hindutva or Hinduism with “Hindu religious bigotry” .
The petitioners have contended that interpretation of judgment has diminished faith in secularism and pose a big threat to India’s academics and scientific temperament through narrow interpretations of faith and mythology.