Recently the Supreme Court in the Abhiram Singh v/s C.D. Comachen case, by a majority judgment ruled appeal for votes on the basis of religion, caste, creed, language, etc to be a corrupt electoral practice. Discuss the arguments in favour of and against the judgement.?
The recent Supreme Court Judgment in the Abhiram Singh v/s C.D. Comachen case was given by a constitutional bench comprising of seven judges and the decision came by the majority of 4:3 on the bench. The decision stated that appeal for votes on the basis of religion, race, caste, creed, language, etc. is a corrupt electoral practice and call for disqualification of the candidate.
Arguments in favour of the judgment
Secularism is a ‘basic feature’ of the constitution, which means that the entire philosophy of the constitution is threatened in case of any threat to secularism. Religion should be kept away from politics and the electoral process. Promotion of religious and communal feelings can incite hatred among diverse communities and that in turn can be a threat to the peace and stability of the country.
Governance is a secular tool and it should not function in favour of any caste, creed, religion, community and language. Any such discrimination can become a barrier in the overall economic development of the country. An elector should be given the free choice of electing any candidate or any party and he should not frame a biased opinion on the basis of religious incentives just prior to an election.
India has a wider set of problems like poverty, development, infrastructural deficit, etc. and religion, caste, creed, etc. are narrow grounds for vote appeal. For free and fair elections, a united nation is the first priority. Emotional or irrational appeals are against the essence of democracy. They harm the purity of elections. When a party comes to power, it should wholly work for the overall development of the country and its people.
Arguments against the judgment
Religion, race, caste, creed, language are the essential components of the Indian society. Religion unites a lot of people. Religious beliefs are important aspects of a society. Indian society is secular, which means that it has the tolerance for every religion. Here every religion finds place and equal respect. True governance means addressing all social disparities.
At times, certain sections of the society have to be given priority as they have a very long history of social injustice caused to them. The constitution favours a positive discrimination. A blanket ban on religious appeals may lead to absence of development of such communities. A social mobilization is therefore needed to bring these marginalized groups to the mainstream society.
Therefore, keeping in mind the secular principle of the constitution, the court has come up with the undeniably true decision.