More clarity required on SC judgment over use of religion, caste to seek votes: JIH

January 7, 2017

More clarity required on SC judgment over use of religion, caste to seek votes: JIH

At their monthly press conference today Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) chief, Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umari voiced concerns over the Supreme Court judgment banning the use of religion caste and creed for seeking votes. The JIH chief said that: ‘’the judgment does not answer how legitimate grievances regarding upliftment of specific religious communities could be addressed at the time of elections. There is no clarity regarding the way in which the oppression and injustice meted out to certain castes may be voiced at the time of polls. Though the motive of this judgment is good and aims at preventing political parties from polarizing society along narrow and parochial lines, it is a very delicate issue and can be exploited by some through legal challenges by accusing their opponents for seeking votes under the name of religion, caste etc. Fears of this judgment being misused by the ruling party gains credence because it appears to contradict the 1995 ruling by justice J S Verma of the SC who ruled that ‘’Hinduism is a way of life and not a religion’’. Thus there is a strong possibility that the parties contesting elections on the ‘’Hindutava’’ plank would use it as a shield for their communal appeal to voters and claim that they are not seeking votes on the basis of religion but on the basis of way of life. If their logic is accepted by the courts then it will cause great damage to our pluralistic polity and pave the way for Majoritarianism. Jamaat expects the judiciary to address these apprehensions and hopes the judgment is implemented in letter and spirit ensuring that elections are fought on the basis of issues and ideology’’.

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The Secretary General of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Muhammad Salim Engineer also addressed the media and discussed the issue of Enemy Property Ordinance. He said that: ‘’Jamaat-e-Islami Hind feels that the decision to pass amendments into the Enemy Property Bill through an ordinance is undemocratic and infringing fundamental rights of citizens. Legislation via ordinance is adopted only under special circumstances and the government’s anxiety to push the Bill in such a hurried manner raises serious doubts over its real intentions. It appears as though this Bill is meant to harass minorities and the Muslim community of India will face maximum brunt of this Bill. Their law of succession and inheritance and their personal laws will be impacted and hence infringe on their fundamental rights as equal citizens of this country. It can also be subverted in a subtle way to create enmity against the Muslim community by terming their legally inherited bequests as enemy property.This will damage the communal harmony of the country and is detrimental to national interests. If required, the government should pass such amendments in a democratic manner through Parliament and ensure that it does not cause any injustice to anyone”.

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