Who should maintain peace, State or Supreme Court of India?

Today on 12th April 2019, Supreme Court of India, dismissed a petition to allow Puja in the makeshift Ram Mandir in Ram Janmbhoomi, Ayodhya. The reason given for dismissal is that, if Puja is allowed in Ram Mandir it will disturb peace in the country. The CJI even rebuked the petitioners saying, “You will not let India be in peace”. All this looks fine on the surface. However, has the Supreme Court is being consistent in its rulings? The answer to this question is an emphatic no. Let’s go through some of the judgments given by the highest court of this nation.

Some NGOs who have never gone to a temple filed a petition in Supreme Court to allow women to enter sanctum santorum of Shani Shinganur temple in Maharashtra. The State Government said that allowing women to the temple may create law and order problems. The court simply said they can’t decide the case based on whether or not it creates law and order problem but based on merits of the case. It is the duty of the state to maintain peace irrespective of the verdict. The court allowed entry of women to the temple.

Emboldened by this, few more NGOs who were out there to desecrate every Hindu tradition filed a petition to lift the ban on entry of women in menstruating age in Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple. The opposition to this petition was based on the basic character of the diety i.e of Naistika Brahmacharya (Eternal celibacy) and not because of perceived impurity of menstruation as alleged. Even in this case, the state also mentioned that the verdict to allow women would disturb peace in the state of Kerala. Supreme court again put the ball in the state’s court saying the state is dutybound to maintain peace. After the verdict, Kerala literally burned and even after that Supreme court just asked the state to maintain law and order. Court decided to remain oblivious to the situation in Kerala while deciding the case.

Even when petitions were filed to allow entry of women to Haji Ali Dargah, to control noise pollution caused by Aazan from mosques, etc., the court didn’t take state’s argument that peace would be disturbed if the verdicts were to be implemented. Even during convictions of Sant Ram Rahim, Asaram Bapu the supreme court unequivocally reiterated that maintaining peace is the responsibility of the state and court cannot give judgments taking its effect on law & order situation into consideration.

Not just matters related to religion, verdicts on Bollywood movies were also given without considering the effect on peace in society. When some states banned the movie Padmavat, the producers went to Supreme court for redressal. When the states argued that the release will disturb peace in these states, Supreme court rebuked them saying it is the sole responsibility of the state to create a peaceful atmosphere so as to allow the release of the movie.

In the light of these many judgments by the Supreme court itself, it is quite baffling that the court dismissed the petition to allow puja in Ram Mandir on the basis that such a verdict would disturb peace. Most importantly the state, which the court says is responsible to maintain peace in no uncertain terms, has not raised an objection to this petition. This means the state was ready to maintain law and order if the court had allowed this petition. Any rule is considered law if it is applied consistently. If it is done on the whim then it is tyranny. Unfortunately, this ruling of the supreme court falls in the latter category.

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