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Supreme Court Bars Parties From Using Religion, Caste to Seek Votes

In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court on Monday said that political parties can't seek votes in the name of religion.

Ashok Bagriya | News18.com

Updated:January 2, 2017, 3:13 PM IST
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New Delhi: In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court on Monday said that the political parties can't seek votes in the name of religion.

The court said that the parties have to abide by the tenets of the constitution.

An appeal to voters on the grounds of Caste, Creed and Religion is Impermissible, the judgment delivered by a bench of 7 judges.

The bench was headed by outgoing Chief Justice of India TS Thakur, and Justice Sharad Bobde, Justice Madan Lokur and Justice Rao agreed with him that votes cannot be sought in the name of caste or religion. Three judges – Justice UU Lalit, Justice Adarsh Goel and Justice DY Chandrachud – struck a dissenting note.

After the latest ruling, any attempt to canvas votes on ground of religion – either the candidate's or his opponents – will invite provisions of the Representation of People’s Act.

“Relation between an individual and God is an independent choice,” the court observed, adding that the state is forbidden to have allegiance to such an activity.

The bench is revisiting a 20-year-old judgment that called Hinduism a “way of life”.

The SC verdict could have a huge impact in the upcoming assembly election in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

Also Read: Hindutva Case: Religious Groups Hail SC Ruling on Caste, Creed Vote

Reacting to the judgement, NCP leader Majeed Memon said that the BJP could suffer a setback since they were planning to the bring up the Ram Mandir issue in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh election.

"Local police and EC should be alert about the kind of speeches that will be given in the coming months," Memon added.

BJP leader Subramaniam Swamy, however, said that the ruling has nothing to do with the BJP as the party has never sought vote on the basis of religion.

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