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Cannot seek votes in name of religion, caste, race: Supreme Court

New Delhi: In a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court on Monday said no one can seek vote in the name of caste, creed, religion, community or language.

Referring to the term ‘his religion’ used in section 123(3) of the Representation of The Peoples (RP) Act, which deals with ‘corrupt practice’, Chief Justice T S Thakur and three others in the 4:3 verdict said it meant the religion and caste of all including voters, candidates and their agents etc.

Religion can have no role in electoral process, the seven-judge Constitution bench said.

The Supreme Court said election is a secular exercise and thereby its way and process should be followed.

The top court further stated that relationship between man and God is an individual choice, the state is forbidden to interfere in such an activity.

SC in majority verdict held that any appeal for votes on ground of religion amounts to corrupt practices under electoral laws.

The ruling was made by a seven-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur while hearing multiple petitions relating to electoral malpractices.

Political parties on Monday welcomed the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D Raja said the court has sent a strong message. 

“It is a strong message but one would have to wait to find out if the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh) and other Sangh Parivar outfits and various fundamentalist organisations would abide by this ruling,” Raja told IANS.

Trinamool Congress MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy insisted the ruling will not adversely affect the issues of the SCs and STs.

Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi said the ruling was important in the wake of “religious and caste equations” dominating politics. 

With Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections expected to be held in February, the SC order can have a huge impact in the sensitive state.

Political parties have long tried to reap the benefits by playing the religion and caste card in the politically sensitive UP.

Source: Zee News