SC refuses to redefine 'Hindutva', sticks to its 1995 judgement

The 7-member bench of the apex court on Tuesday categorically refused to reexamine its 1995 Hindutva verdict.

SC refuses to redefine 'Hindutva', sticks to its 1995 judgement

New Delhi: In a significant development, the seven-judge bench of the Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to re-examine its 1995 verdict on 'Hindutva', saying it's not in the reference for hearing issues related to electoral malpractices.

While setting aside a number of pleas in this regard, the apex court bench stated that there is no mention of word 'Hindutva' in the reference for which the 7-member bench has been set up.

We will not go into larger debate at this stage on what 'Hindutva' means, the apex court bench said.

''If anybody will show that there is a reference to the word 'Hindutva', we will hear him. We will not go into 'Hindutva' at this stage, it clarified.

The apex court bench made these observations while hearing pleas urging it to clear whether seeking votes in the name of religion will amount to a corrupt practice under the Representation of the People`s Act warranting disqualification or not.

Last week, the court raised a range of queries on before interpreting the provision (Section 123) of the Representation of People Act (RPA) pertaining to "corrupt practice."

Referring to the terms "national symbols" and "national emblem" in Section 123(3) of the Representation of the People (RP) Act, the apex court had said that nobody can be allowed to use them to get votes in the elections.

The seven-judge bench included Justices Madan B Lokur, SA Bobde, Adarsh Kumar Goel, UU Lalit, DY Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao.

"Can a person belonging to one community seek votes from members of his community for a candidate belonging to another community? Like a Hindu candidate may use a Muslim religious leader to solicit votes of his community for Hindu candidates by hinting that they would invite `divine displeasure` if they do not vote for a particular candidate," the bench headed by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur had said.

The seven-judge bench was hearing three cases which questioned the current practice of seeking votes in the name of religion is not a corrupt practice and ask whether candidates who win this way should not be disqualified.

Social activist Teesta Setalvad had sought to intervene in the matter last week with an application stating that religion and politics should not be mixed and a direction be passed to de-link religion from politics.

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