The 42nd Amendment of the Constitution of India enacted in 1976 gave our
nation the status of a secular state. The Preamble to the Constitution asserted
that India is a secular nation and thus the state had no religion of its own and
was the promoter of none of the religions but was the protector of all.
There is no provision in the Constitution of India which directs the nation to
remain neutral to the religious issues; nor does it specifically ask to
cooperate with the religious communities in respect to their faith affairs.
However the thing which contrivances the people of the nation the most is that
the mandate is only for non-discrimination between people on grounds of
religion. The silence of the Constitution on this issue is taken as an unstated
approval for State intervention in the religious affairs of all communities, and
all the organs of the State – legislature, executive and judiciary have been
accordingly taking active interest in such religious affairs in a way that may
be untraceable under such a political set up which is rigidly secular. The
legislative and administrative measures of this nature are provided the finance
by the State exchequer, and this results in their validity becoming
well-established despite the Constitutional ban on collection of taxes meant for
promoting particular religions.
However contrary it may be to the practice of secular countries in the West, the
Judiciary in India has never temporized or scrupled in discussing, elucidating
and clearing up or even adjudicating on purely religious issues including the
nature and distinctive characteristics of various religions of India.
The Supreme Court of India in Sastri Yahnapurushdasji v. Muldas B.Vaishya
observed that Acceptance of the Vedas with awe and veneration, acknowledgment
of the fact that the means of salvation are dissimilar and diverse and the
realization of the precision that the number of gods to be worshipped is not
petite but large, that indeed is the distinguishing feature of Hindu religion.
In some of the pronouncements, the court of law has also adjudged on religious
disputes between the Hindus and one or another of the other communities viz. the
Islam, Sikh, Buddhism, Jain etc. legally bracketed with them (as stated above).
In the leading case-
Tejraj v. Madhya Bharat, the Hon'ble Court had to pass the verdict on a
dispute between the people of Hinduism and Jainism on the issue if a Jain temple
could house a Hindu spiritual symbol.
The Ram Janmabhoomi-
Babri Masjid Case stands at the top when it comes to the intervention and
complexity faced by the judiciary of our country whenever it comes to
adjudicating the cases related to the religious affairs of our nation. The apex
court of the nation has been going through a long period of hustle and bustle
wherein it tried hard to come up to a decision whether there should be a temple
for 'Ram Lalla' or a 'Babri- Masjid'. This religious issue has been affecting
the decision making process of the Indian Judiciary since 2009 and still stands
as a hindrance towards the same. This has also cast a doubt on the secular
nature of the Indian Judicial System.
This resulted in the Hindu Groups and also RSS targeting the Indian Judiciary
because of the thought pondering in the minds of the people that the Indian
Judiciary has been delaying the proceedings of this case on purpose. A number of
Hindu saints got an opportunity to vent their anger upon the Supreme Court when
it refused an early hearing on the Ayodhya Ram temple-Babri masjid land dispute.
Swami Chinmayananda who was the former junior minister in the Atal Bihari
Vajpayee government said, “We cannot wait for the court to take a stand on the
case of Ram temple…The court does not want to take a decision.”
This state of affairs has thus resulted in the assessment making by the judges.
This time, they have resorted to the alternative of mediation so as they can
come up to a conclusion for the same. Either way, the judiciary is going to get
tainted as the proceedings move ahead.