The Supreme Court CJI (Chief Justice of India), Deepak Mishra at the fag-end of his career delivered three-historic yet controversial verdicts, making him remember in the annals of Indian history forever to come. The -1994-Ayodhya- mosque case, whether the mosque is mandated by the community for prayer or not, was over-ruled paving the way for an uninterrupted and unmitigated arguments on the title suit.
As is in the case of eminent domain Law, that is practised in other progressive western countries, Indian government has also every right to acquire the land of Ayodhya disputed site. Now the road is smoothened for arguments in the case of temple issue, the age-old dispute may be resolved hopefully before the 2019 parliamentary elections. That will give relief for the government and the people to work towards day-to-day issues of progress and development.
The judgement on -Section 497 of IPC– ‘Adultery no longer a criminal offence’ is a bit worrisome. It indicates that we are moving towards westernisation of India. I agree that a part of modern India is westernised but not the whole India in its entirety. The judges have made the section 497 from criminal to civil offence. Criminal is more coercive they might have thought in their wisdom as is in the case of section 377 of IPC (i.e LGBT rights).
As per all religions, Adultery is a sin. Marriage stands on edifice of faith between the married couple. Indian ethos is for ‘self-control or self-restraint’ not for ‘self-gratification or self-indulgence’. The courts go by the egalitarian principle of gender-justice. They are of the view that the Indian man treats his wife as “chattel” i.e his property like any other object. As a matter of fact, on the contrary, it is true of a woman also. A wife doesn’t permit her husband to do adultery or to have any illicit-relationships. She has law on her side to control.
Now with this judgement both are not bound by any restrictions to have adulterous relationships. That means we are moving into an open-society! The judges went by the syntax of law in imparting equality of gender, rather than the spirit of the country where marriage is sacrosanct. Now it has become a flimsy contract. Even in the case of Sabarimala Aiyyappa temple their stand was the same- ‘gender equality’.
However, Indians go by more of conventions than the laws made. A Law works only as a deterrent and a recourse when controversies arise. The resilience of Indian people that has survived their customs, practises and traditions from time to time though there were onslaughts on them will hopefully remain after these changes also, is the belief of many.
The dissent judgement is found to be more interesting in the Sabarimala case than the assent. I would go by what Indu Malhotra, the woman-Judge and what she had to say on the Sabarimalla in her dissent-judgement. She says: “Issues of deep religious sentiments should not be ordinarily be interfered by the court. The Sabarimala shrine and the deity are protected by Article 25 of the Constitution of India and the religious practices cannot be solely tested on the basis of Article 14.”
“Notions of rationality cannot be invoked in matters of religion,” said Justice Malhotra, adding: “What constitutes essential religious practice is for the religious community to decide, not for the court. India is a diverse country. Constitutional morality would allow all to practise their beliefs. The court should not interfere unless if there is any aggrieved person from that section or religion.”
“Present judgment won’t be limited to Sabarimala, it will have wide ramifications. Issues of deep religious sentiments shouldn’t be ordinarily interfered into,” said Justice Malhotra further.
She also said that “Religious practices can’t solely be tested on the basis of the right to equality. It’s up to the worshippers, not the court to decide what’s religion’s essential practice.”
In the sensitive matter of Sabarimalla, the government of the day should have taken the referendum of Hindu women, at least, online rather than to be decided by the Apex Court.