Supreme Court’s  judgments contributed to India’s ‘Hinduisation’ process: Rajeev Dhavan

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In 2005, a seven-judge bench of  court ruled  complete ban on Cow slaughter in  Gujarat famously stating that  “the value of dung is much more than even the famous Kohinoor diamond”

 By Abdul Bari Masoud

New Delhi:  Noted lawyer and senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan alleged that the Supreme Court’s  important judgments have paved the way for ‘Hindu-isation’ of India. Dhavan, who fought for the UP’s Central Sunni Waqf Board and other Muslim parties in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title suit, described the (Ayodhya verdict) judgment as “the oddest” in the history of the Supreme Court.

In an interview with HuffPost India’s Politics Editor,  Betwa Sharma,  Dahvan said  that  apex court’s judgments going back to sixties have given a nod to the idea that India was “innately Hindu” and that is now fructifying into an affirmation of “muscular nationalism”.

Dhavan, who undertook the Babri Masjid case as pro bono, felt blessed for fighting the Babri Masjid case and   stated that the case was lost on account of technicalities.

“I feel even more blessed that I was able to fight it with courage, craft and conviction. I feel sad that we lost on technicalities, but should this happen again, I will appear again and again.”

On November9, 2019, the Supreme Court had pronounced the final verdict in the title suit case of the Babri Masjid-Ram Mandir and the land on which Babri Masjid stood has been declared to belong to the idol of baby Ram.  The verdict had come under sharp scrutiny even former judges of the Supreme Court and jurists observed that it was not based on evidence and logic.

Dhavan had argued the Babri case with feeling which has been regarded as one of the most important legal cases in India’s history.

When he was asked what are the Supreme Court judgments that   had led up to the Babri masjid- Ram Mandir verdict? The noted lawyer enlisted  four important  judgments saying these contributed to ‘Hindu-isation’ of India.

He said the first judgment on this, in his view, was a judgment in 1966 called Yagnapur Das Ji, where Justice (Pralhad Balacharya) Gajendragadkar indicated that everybody is a Hindu. But there are many denominations and sects that say that we are not Hindus. For temple entry, they may be all Hindus, which were the facts of the case, but he said we must take an expansive view of Hindu to cover everybody. It covered everybody (Jains, Buddhists) except Christians and Muslims. This to my mind was the first judgment of expansive Hindu-isation.

The second judgment came in 1995-1996 – argued by Ram Jethmalani — when the Supreme Court said that ‘Hindutva’ is a way of life. A three judge bench decided that you can appeal to your own religion, but not slander their religion. This in practical terms means a Hindu can go on and on about the greatness of Hinduism as long as he does not tell the Christians and the Muslims that their religion is bad.

The 1996 judgment on election appeal – Dr Ramesh Yeshwant Prabhoo versus Shri Prabhkar Kashinath Kunte – was reversed by the Supreme Court in Abhiram Singh versus CD Commachen in 2017.

While the majority (4-3) seized this opportunity to clarify that no appeals to religion is permissible in an election, a minority wrote a dissent which properly interpreted meant that you can always appeal to your own religion.

The next judgment was on the Babri Masjid.

Dhavan observed that  the Muslims proved their possession from 1858 because there were land grants by the British. Against the entire evidence it was decided that Hindus were in possession throughout from 1858 even though a judgment of 1886 clearly says Muslims have title and Hindus have a prescriptive right to pray. The Hindu side did not have to prove possession at all. The 1886 judgment clearly said that they were not owners. The (Ayodhya verdict) judgment is the oddest in the history of the Supreme Court.

When further asked that you just mentioned only three cases over four decades ?   Dhavan  said quipped  there is a flow of judgments as the court has always expanded its Hinduism to the extent that it has always wanted to.

The first judgment is for a Mahayana Hinduism. The second one appeals to religion in elections. When you look at the Gujarat riot cases, the Supreme Court showed sympathy, but didn’t exactly support the Muslims except on narrow points of law. When judgments co-opt a movement, you find the judiciary responding to, running away from or running on to muscular nationalism.

That is how a transformation in the country has taken place. Mild at first and then it becomes stronger because of the rath yatra and Babri Masjid and stronger and stronger and stronger until we reach the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act). So the Hindu fundamentalism was always there but its muscularity has suddenly made it offensive.

Dhavan recalled that former Chief Justice (Ramesh Chandra) Lahoti (2004-2005), just before he retired, was very concerned about cows not being killed. So he wanted to reverse the five judge bench of 1958. The retiring Chief Justice suddenly put cows on the anvil and decided the cow was indeed sacred and we should not kill it. (In 1958, a five-judge bench in Mohd. Hanif Quareshi & Others vs The State Of Bihar, ruled against a complete ban on cow slaughter, confining it to “useless” cows. In 2005, a seven-judge bench in State Of Gujarat vs Mirzapur Moti Kureshi Kassab ruled in favour of a complete ban, famously stating that the “the value of dung is much more than even the famous Kohinoor diamond”).

What was going on in the country was not just Ayodhya. What was going on was that the cow movement, the conversion movement, muscular nationalism was playing out against the minorities at various levels.

In response to a question on Kashmir particularly on the habeas corpus petitions, Dhavan  alleged that the Supreme Court was fiddling with procedure while Kashmir was under a state of militarism.  He  said the e Court should have told the government that this is a serious matter and we are not giving you time to adjourn. File your affidavit in two days. We will decide the matter here.

The court’s response to the petitions against the CAA, he said “At the time when the matter was before the Supreme Court, the Act had not been brought into effect. The Supreme Court could have easily passed an order staying it. That is what happened to defuse the Mandal Crisis.”

It is to be noted that the Supreme Court in October 1990 granted a stay against the V.P. Singh government’s decision implementing the recommendations of the Mandal Commission.

8 thoughts on “Supreme Court’s  judgments contributed to India’s ‘Hinduisation’ process: Rajeev Dhavan

  1. Wow, Strange, Us, the human is unique, Humanity has been so evolved cognitively in the last five decades or so that it has reached the top. Still, An primitive Ancient Egyptian custom of worshipping of Cow is still practiced in Hinduism and even its Dung/Urine is so holy to them that being consumed by the followers. I think this ancient custom was brought by Brahman who once rouge followers of Prophet Moses, who kept worshipping Cow instead of the teachings of Prophet that The Creator, God is the one to be worshipped, not the cow, they were being killed by Jews escaped killings, and found refuge in coastal India. Brahman are not real Indians at all they indoctrinated Cow worshipping, Diwali, and Caste System into Hinduism.

  2. There can be no peace, no progress, no end to decades old Ambani-RSS corruption without fair, balanced and non-discriminatory JUSTICE.

    Otherwise all that will remain will be publicly urine-relishing polticians and cow-dung quoting Kohinoor-brand diamond judiciary.

  3. future historians might say about the Supreme Court’s role – especially during the terms of last four Chief Justices of India – in the destruction of democracy in contemporary India, where he said an undeclared Emergency has been in force.

    The present CJP S.A. Bobde sitting on a Harley Davidson motorcycle in Nagpu rides a 50 Lakh motorcycle belonging to a BJP leader at Raj Bhavan Nagpur, without a mask or helmet, at a time when he keeps the SC in Lockdown mode denying citizens their fundamental right to access justice.

    The Muslim community of the entire nation should be thankful for Mr.Rajiv Dhvan for representing for Babri Masjid case free of cost.

    If the CJI Ranjan Gogoi is not sold himself to clear his name from sexual abuse, Mr Dhvan argument in the court will remembered for ever.

    It is time for Muslims of India to seek advice from these true citizens of this nation for the future course of action.

    Jai Hind!

  4. In 1947 Muslims wanted a separate nation and got one (two now).

    Why are they still living in Hindu India? Surely the should give to live as per their customs and beliefs in Pakistan or Bangladesh. No?

    1. The constitution of India talks of We the ‘people of India’ in its preamble. No mention of ‘Hindu India’ or any other markers. No?

      How does one ignore uninterrupted possession in a title suit for the Babri Masjid?

      How does one accept unquestioning the sly argument that Hindutva is a political philosophy and has nothing to do with religion. Alas if only the outcomes of this political ideology and it’s strong links and with the deities, rituals and belief of Hinduism were not ignored things would have been very different.

  5. Somebody asked why Muslims should live in India when they have got two Nations for themselves. Those Muslims who wanted Pakistan or Bangladesh as their nation have migrated there and those who remain are those who believe India is their country and their ancestors have made great sacrifices to make the nation what it is and retain its secular inclusive character. The question is actually meaningless and perhaps can best be answered by asking why those Hindus who do not wish India to be a secular inclusive nation do not go somewhere else where their exclusivist majoritarian anti minority rhetoric can become part of their constitution and there they can also have a rule that only those subscribing to their faith will be allowed in and all others be denied visas. Since it is a constitutionally mandated duty of every citizen to uphold the constitution and the laws of the country these honorable people whose view and a minority nonsense at every possible opportunity actually qualify as anti constitutionalists. media houses who published these views should ask themselves how wise or otherwise they are in giving credence to such views and allowing public dissemination of such antinational anti-secular assertions to gain ground become rallying points for unfortunate displays of selective aggression on the streets of the country shaming us before the world.

  6. Somebody asked why Muslims should live in India when they have got two Nations for themselves. Those Muslims who wanted Pakistan or Bangladesh as their nation have migrated there and those who remain are those who believe India is their country and their ancestors have made great sacrifices to make the nation what it is and retain its secular inclusive character. The question is actually meaningless and perhaps can best be answered by asking why those Hindus who do not wish India to be a secular inclusive nation do not go somewhere else where their exclusivist majoritarian anti minority rhetoric can become part of their constitution and there they can also have a rule that only those subscribing to their faith will be allowed in and all others be denied visas. Since it is a constitutionally mandated duty of every citizen to uphold the constitution and the laws of the country these honorable people who spout anti-minority assertions at every possible opportunity actually qualify as anti constitutionalists. Media houses who published these views should ask themselves how wise or otherwise they are in giving space to such views and allowing public dissemination of such anti-constitutional anti-secular assertions to gain ground and become rallying points for unfortunate displays of selective aggression on the streets of the country shaming us before the world.

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