Secularism in India gets vitiated at times due to partisan political attitude in favour of particular communities, sitting Supreme Court judge Justice P Sathasivam on Saturday said and warned against any compromise with communalism.
"Secularism in India at times is vitiated by an excessive reliance on the category of religious community," Justice Sathasivam said, adding "it is clear that secularism must bodily dissociate itself from any compromise with communalism."
"It means a total, unconditional rejection of the category of religious community for socio-political dialogue or action," he said, addressing the third annual lecture in memory of late eminent jurist Dr L M Singhvi.
Pointing out that India's concept of secularism was different from western notions, the judge delved into the diversity of Indian society and said "a pluralistic society is the greatest test for secularism."
"While the ideal of religious tolerance is theoretically accepted in the West, it has to be really practised and lived in day-to-day life in a pluralistic society," he said in his lecture attended among others by various apex court judges, lawyers and union law minister M Veerappa Moily.
"It not only becomes the basis of peaceful existence of different religious groups but also paves the way for mutual sharing of each others' beliefs," the judge said.
"It is only in such a society that a society's secular commitments can be tested as the leaders of such a society are faced with the complex problem of harmonizing the claims of various religions with each other as well as demands of a secular polity," Justice Sathasivam said.