New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it would not reconsider a 1995 judgement in which it defined Hindutva as a ‘way of life and not a religion.’
According to reports, the Supreme Court's statement came on a plea filed by activist Teesta Setalvad who wanted the court to reconsider that judgement. In fact, Setalvad wanted the court to ban the use of the word ‘Hindutva’ in election campaigning, apart from redefining its meaning.
The judgement assumes significance since 5 states go to the polls next year.
We will not go into the larger debate as to what is Hindutva or what is its meaning. We will not re-consider the 1995 judgement and also not examine Hindutva or religion at this stage," a seven-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur said.
"We will confine ourselves to the issue raised before us in the reference. In the reference, there is no mention of the word 'Hindutva'. 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," the bench, which also comprised Justices M B Lokur, S A Bobde, A K Goel, U U Lalit, D Y Chandrachud and L Nageshwar Rao, said.
The remarks were made by the bench when, at the outset of the hearing, some advocates sought to intervene in the ongoing hearing which commenced last Tuesday.
The apex court instead took up a separate plea filed in 1990 whether seeking of votes in the name of religion will amount to a corrupt practice under the Representation of the People Act warranting disqualification.
The SC said on Tuesday that it would not examine the larger issue of whether Hindutva means Hindu religion, and whether the use of Hindutva in elections is permissible. The 7-judge SC bench said it is examining a nexus between religious leaders and candidates and its legality under Section 123 (3) of the Representation of the People Act.
The plea was filed after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena used speeches made by Balasaheb Thackeray and Pramod Mahajan in 1990 to seek votes in the name of Hindutva and the Hindu rashtra. Petitions were filed against many winning candidates of Shiv Sena and BJP in 1990, and the Bombay HC disqualified them.
On appeal, the Supreme Court reversed the judgments in all but two cases....