Won’t set up Constitution bench to relook at what defines Hindutva, says Supreme Court
Today in New Delhi, India
Jan 18, 2019-Friday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

Won’t set up Constitution bench to relook at what defines Hindutva, says Supreme Court

A bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi rejected senior advocate Salman Khurshid’s request to nominate a bench so that “the important matter” can be decided. “This is an important matter regarding corrupt practices in elections. Let it be considered if it should go to a five-judge bench,” Khurshid said.

india Updated: Jan 10, 2019 00:02 IST
Bhadra Sinha
Bhadra Sinha
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Hindutva,Supreme Court,1995 verdict
The Supreme Court declined on Wednesday to set up a constitution bench urgently to take a relook at a 1995 judgement that defined the word Hindutva. (Sunil Saxena/HT File Photo)

The Supreme Court declined on Wednesday to set up a constitution bench urgently to take a relook at a 1995 judgement that defined the word Hindutva as a way of life and ruled that using the term in a campaign speech did not amount to a corrupt practice under the law to make a candidate ineligible to contest an election .

A bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi rejected senior advocate Salman Khurshid’s request to nominate a bench so that “the important matter” can be decided. “This is an important matter regarding corrupt practices in elections. Let it be considered if it should go to a five-judge bench,” Khurshid said.

In response, the CJI told Khurshid: “Every case may be important for you but not for us. There are more pressing cases. Our priorities are different from yours.” Khurshid had mentioned the matter on behalf of late Congress leader CD Comachen, who had won an election petition against a BJP candidate, Abhiram Singh, in the Bombay high court.

Singh moved an appeal before the top court in 1992. During the hearing of Singh’s appeal, the issue of defining Hindutva came up. Since the 1995 judgement declared Hindutva as a way of life and was found to be contrary to an earlier verdict, Singh’s appeal was referred to a five-judge bench in 1996.

In 2015, the five-judge bench ruled that a candidate seeking votes in the name of his or his voters’ religion, caste or community would amount to a corrupt practice. However, the judges sent Singh’s case back to an “appropriate bench.”

As the matter was being heard by a two-judge bench, Comachen moved an application asking that the matter be heard by a five-judge bench since the controversy over the word Hindutva had still not been resolved. According to the applicant, the matter has been awaiting a final adjudication before the top court for almost 22 years.

First Published: Jan 09, 2019 23:59 IST