J&K HC: Ban religious nationalists from polls

SRINAGAR: In a landmark judgment, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court has said the use of terms like "Hindu nationalist", "Muslim nationalist", "Sikh nationalist" and "Christian nationalist" were abhorrent to the Indian constitution.

Observing that such persons were not only working against ‘Indianism’ but against the very thought of India, justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar in his judgement also directed the Union of India to consider and ensure that all persons and organisations who attempt to subvert Constitution are stopped in their tracks by taking recourse to the provisions of law.

Disposing of a petition filed by a Kashmiri Pandit leader, Sanjay Tikoo, seeking protection of Hindu religious places, Justice Attar observed that it appears that "in terms of Constitution of India, which guarantees all the rights, which include right to practice and profess one's religion and faith, there was no requirement of bringing in expression 'secularism' in the preamble of the Constitution. 

"This expression has evoked sharp reaction from a section of population and divided people of the country into different pigeon holes of different isms. A very serious and potential threat is posed to the very existence of the idea of India by the fringe elements, who take cover under various types of isms other than Indianism. 

"India is not a Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist or Christian India. It is India which is born from the bosom of unrelenting struggle of millions of people," he said. 

The Court directed all constitutional authorities and the Union government to ensure that anyone attempting to subvert Constitution of India is stopped by taking recourse to the provisions of the law. 

"Besides all constitutional and statutory authorities, Union of India through Home Secretary is directed to consider and ensure that all persons and organisations, who attempt to subvert the Constitution of India, are stopped in their tracks by taking recourse to the provision of law," Justice Attar said. 

Justice Attar directed the chief election commissioner  (CEC) of India to invoke provisions of law including that of representation of people’s act against the person or persons and organisation or organisations whose actions and utterances pose threat to the constitution of India and ensure that they are prevented from seeking elections to the parliament and state legislatures.

The Court also directed the state government to take all necessary steps for protection of religious places of Kashmiri Pandits, saying any person who may be affected in this process shall be afforded opportunity for hearing and thereafter appropriate orders be passed. 

"All other constitutional authorities may take steps in accordance with Constitution of India and Constitution of J&K and laws of the land for protecting the religious places of petitioners, including the places of cultural heritage," the court said. 

The authorities were directed to consider making new laws for accomplishing the purpose, in addition to taking appropriate action in terms of the existing laws. Agencies

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