NDTV should question the raids in courts of law and advisedly, at present, focus itself to challenging only the raids.
Why? What seems to be quite questionable and where the CBI seems to be on most shaky territory is – given the nature of allegations – were the raids necessary? This question arises because such raids undoubtedly have a chilling effect on freedom of speech and expression; particularly given the well-recognised critical stance of NDTV against the present regime/RSS, something which can’t be ignored.
The word “secularism” has witnessed increasing discussion in recent times and the trend is likely to continue for, at least, some time to come
There seems to be a justification for such increasing debate on the worth and legitimacy of secularism given that the practice and meaning given to it under the working of law lacks clarity and, at times, conviction.
The United States Supreme Court, to start with, in laying down the meaning of secularism under the law insisted on a strict separation between the church and the state. Church here would mean all such entities as are devoted to organising matters of religion. The main reason given for such a strict separation of the church and the state was the view that whenever the church and the state merged or got associated; large scale of bloodshed and strife during history has been witnessed on such count. [“School Management of Abington Township, Pennsylvania vs. Edward Lewis Schempp 374 U.S. 203 (1963 )]
Though, in later stages of US Supreme Court history, continuing up to the present times, this doctrine of strict separation between the church and the state has been questioned and somewhat diluted; but still, in principle, the separation of the state from the church forms the bastion of constitutional law under the law laid down by the United States Supreme Court with respect to working of secularism in that country.
In India, the Supreme Court has had occasions to consider the working and meaning of secularism. While it has upheld secularism, defining it in substance to be the principle of not favouring any particular religion by the state; the Indian Supreme Court while considering issues of secularism often partakes in religious discourses and discussions; the context or relevance of which, as would be submitted below, is rather doubtful.
The difference in the interpretation of working of secularism, so far as the rulings of United States Supreme Court and the Indian Supreme Court are concerned, is that while United States Supreme Court would be insisting on separation between the church and the state as the basic mandates of the same; the Indian Supreme Court would prefer not to lay too much insistence on such separation and approach it more from the point of view of not showing any favour to any particular religion or religions by the state.
Objectively researched and reasoned works on the working of secularism in the Republic of India are not all that many. One work however which deserves attention, both on account of the impressive research comprised as well as the analytics offered, is that of Gary Jeffrey Jacobsohn titled “The Wheel of Law” in which Jacobsohn argues that the working of secularism would show differences depending upon differing socio-cultural setups and seeks to explain the not so identical approaches to defining and interpreting secularism by the Supreme Court of United States and India largely on such basis.
Another important advancement by Jacobsohn is that the interpretation and working of secularism under the law in India would have greater leanings to issues of social justice as compared to that in United States.
Or in other words, so far as the interpretation and working of secularism under the law is concerned; what goes into defining and interpreting the same in the two largest democracies are an amalgamation of the following;
1. There has to be a separation between the church and the state. (Insisted under the United States law and while not really questioned under the Indian law, the stress on such separation is markedly diluted under the Indian law)
2. The state has to be neutral towards all religions. It is required not to show favour to or bias against any particular religion. The state is to treat all religions equally. (Both under United States law and the Indian law)
3. Secularism is closely allied to bringing about social justice where the same otherwise may be prevented or restricted through religious principles, teachings or their scriptures or in the name of the same. (Both under the United States law and the Indian law)
The purpose of the present write up, it is submitted, is to examine the relevancy and validity of the above three planks which go into defining secularism and its working under the law in the two principal democracies of the world.
At the very outset, it is submitted that the above amalgamation of the three basic principles defining secularism under the law is not satisfactory.
All ideas in the progress and the working of the law, as the basic mandate, are required to ultimately derive from the aim and purpose of improving and adding to the principle of justice. Secularism is to be subject to the same.
The cardinal principle behind secularism, proceeding from the undisputed position that adding to and improving justice should be the aim of all law, stands to be on the same footing. Given the same, it is not difficult to see that the purpose and aim or indeed the justification of secularism is simply that it lays down a mandate for the administrative or governing organs to bring about or add to justice in the fields occupied by religious doctrines, practices or scriptures. Nothing less, nothing more. Seeing anything further or trying to add more than the aforesaid, so far as the meaning of secularism and it’s working under the law is concerned, is only to add to the confusion and to the debate.
In India’s partition, while there were definitely political issues involved; the killing of lakhs of innocents by members of two religious communities, one against the other, also had equally, if not more, religion-based ingredients and instigations. The hand of god could not prevent such unimaginable bloodshed as took place at the time of India’s partitioning. But the hand of man could have.
If the British had not abdicated their administrative and policing duties; much of this bloodshed would not have taken place.
The submission that the mandate of secularism is to address fields occupied by religions and what all purports to be in their name and to seek advancement of justice in such fields would immediately and fore-mostly prevent, or at least significantly lessen, the killing of innocents or their victimisation through or in the name of religion.
Secularism therefore is the hand of the human that can step in, in the name of paramount justice where the hand of god – read it to mean aspect and mandates operating through or in the ostensible name of religion – failed to do so as is often witnessed in the course of history.
The voice of human reason calling in for prevention of injustices where the same is brought about through or ostensibly in the name of religion is what is secularism all about and it takes little to see, when so put, that secularism is an absolute must in the interests of prevention of great injustices that have been perpetrated through or ostensibly in the name of various religions in the course of history.
Triple talaq is one instance of such injustice perpetrated if not through a religious teaching then in the ostensible name of a religious teaching. The perpetuation of caste system again is another instance where done through religious scriptures or whether in the name ostensibly of religious scriptures.
Secularism, therefore, is an absolute must and it simply means giving mandate to administrative order to step in as a matter of duty to prevent injustices perpetrated through or in the name of religions, where the scale of the injustice in question calls to be interfered with.
Naturally then, the question would arise what this scale would be of any perceived injustice through or in the name of religion that would call for interference on part of a secular state?
Freedom of religion, conscience and practice is a matter of human will. Behind the coming about of such will may be different reasons. But that human will, overwhelmingly and often, lays great store on their professed and held religious matters, beliefs and practices is an undisputed reality. That being so, in order to give full allowance to human will in order to achieve the potential of human life – as in keeping with the principles of natural justice; freedom to practice one’s religion is a basic human right; to be interfered with only as a matter of absolute necessity.
One can ask as to what is the difference between “necessity” and “absolute necessity”? The submission in answer to this query is that “absolute necessity” would mean when there is no reasonable doubt any regarding the “necessity” in question.
Following from this, what the meaning and practice of secularism under law would amount to is this. Secularism means interfering with fields occupied by religions or in the name of religions where such interference is mandated in the interests of justice as absolute necessity.
The reader, at this stage, would mark the differentiation between the words “by religions” and “in the name of religion”. What this differentiation means is that when the state or the organs of the state – such as the executive, the legislature or the judiciary – are called upon to adjudicate whether a practice is to be struck down or not, it is not required for them to enter into discourses or discussions of the religious teachings, scriptures related to the same; but simply to decide whether the practice in question is severe enough to be struck down, despite the religious freedom otherwise allowed, and it is immaterial for such purposes whether the said practice indeed has its real moorings in any religious teaching or not. Thus the irrelevancy of entering into religious discourses as is often witnessed in decisions and judgements related to secularism by the Indian Supreme Court.
The reader would also have noticed that the present submission on secularism, as a matter of its working under the law, has avoided giving weight or relevancy to otherwise a time established refrain which is behind such interpretation and working; namely “that the state shall show neutrality towards all religions.” And this is because this time honoured refrain associated with working of secularism under law is amenable to serious confusion with respect to basic duties of the state.
It is very much possible that a particular religion or religious following has much more issues to be interfered with on the principle of preventing injustices in the sense defined above, whether such injustices are through or in the name of such religion; with the result being that such religion, or that sought in its name, would call for greater interference on part of the state and its organs.
Again, a particular religion or religious following may be doing much more towards charitable or socio-productive efforts and undertakings and may call upon the state to assist it in doing so. Assisting then such socio-constructive programmes, efforts and undertakings would be a matter of duty on part of the state to the extent possible and that has nothing to do with secularism. Doing so on part of the administrative organ does not mean favouring any particular religion. It simply means giving assistance to socio-constructive programmes, efforts and undertakings deserving to be so as a matter of the basic concept and function of the state.
If a particular religion is much more energetic and involved in social constructive programmes and efforts; it shall be the duty of the state then as part of its very justification and meaning to aid and promote such activities even if it means giving, as per such aid and assistance, greater aid and assistance to the projects and undertakings of any particular religion-based entity or entities. It is a matter of duty on part of the state to aid and assist, to the extent possible, all such constructive programmes of any or whatever religion and if the scale and magnitude of such programs and efforts on part of any religion-based entity or organisation is more than the others; then such greater aid and assistance to such entities or bodies does not infringe into the meaning of secularism, for the state cannot keep itself aloof in so far as aiding and assisting social constructive programmes are concerned.
True, the state should not as a matter of prior policy favour or disfavour any particular religion as a matter of working of principles of justice; – which would result in the infringement of secularism in the sense submitted; but if the state, as a matter of its basic duty, aids and assists socio constructive programs of a religion based entity simply because such activities of such entity are on a wider scale, then that does not infringe secularism which simply calls for justice in the fields occupied by religion. And such greater aid and assistance compelled by greater scale of socio constructive programs would be objectively just and fair in fields occupied by religions. Thus the taking away the emphasis from the words “the state shall be neutral towards all religions” as the same is bound to create ambiguity as regards the called upon functions of the state and not required otherwise in understand the working of secularism in the sense submitted.
The meaning of secularism is confined to addressing issues of justice where the same are prevented or restricted through religious teachings or in the name ostensibly of religious teachings.
And in so far as the linking of social justice to secularism is concerned; it is submitted that it is not only social justice but the entire gamut of justice, whatever it entails, that is the propelling force behind secularism in so far as dealing with issues of injustices through religions or in the ostensible name of religions is concerned.
And laying stress on different socio-cultural contexts and settings is counter-productive. Different sociocultural settings do not change the meaning and purpose of the working of secularism under the law. Whether it is the United States or India; secularism retains its basic purpose and meaning; which is to deal with injustices being perpetrated through or in the ostensible name of any religion or religious following.
Aided by developments in technology, claims to protection of privacy often seem to be in no man’s land. The attempts to define privacy suffer from want of precision and conviction.
Both UN Declaration on Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights declare right to privacy as a basic human right, to be restricted only on certain grounds. Right to privacy is recognised as a basic human right under the constitutional law of a large number of countries. In India, the Supreme Court has recognised privacy as a fundamental human right but it has determined so in given situation and has preferred not to lay down any general test or guidelines towards the same. Given that the weight and worth of privacy is universally recognised as a basic human right;there is a pressing need for precise and convincing tests and guidelines for determination privacy as a matter of a basic right under the law.
So many occupants of the Indian Parliament have serious criminal charges against them.
The spirit of the Indian Parliament has long been killed by the goons occupying it. A few good men & women but sit sentinels; to whom, the majority of masses do still listen.
This instance of the most revolting brutalisation of an innocent, hapless and defenceless animal by an elected representative of people in full public view in the presence of policemen in such shocking and savage manner is absolutely without any defence, mitigation or lessening and has to be treated so in damning and condemning it to the utmost extent possible.
The slogans raised at JNU recently trivialise the worth and value of the Indian soldier putting his life at risk in keeping the country together.
But is there anything else coming out of the ugly slogans in question in connection with the worth, value and well-being of the Indian soldier?
All this talk about nationalism, patriotism et cetera. Wonder how many of them, so talking, genuinely care about the country. For if all these talking genuinely cared; the Tiger – a matter of pride and glory for India – would not have been as vulnerable to poaching and loss of habitat as they increasingly are.
The present write-up attempts to capture the increasing trauma and agony that loss of habitat and deadly poaching is fetching for our national animal; the most majestic of them all, the King, the Tiger.
The present manner of organisation of the Indian Army is owed to the British, who formed different regiments of Indian Army. These regiments, then, by the British were drilled into discipline and equipped with modern weapons and strategies. The fighting quality of the Indian Army jawan has been recognised to be amongst the best in the world.
Owing to such manner of creation of the present Indian Army by way of different regiments and integral conventions attached therewith; the Indian Army jawan, in ordinary practice, finds inspiration more by way of his regiment name and regimental colours, besides leadership of his officers, rather than abstract notions of nationalism et cetera.
While being one of the finest soldiers in the world; the Indian Army jawan too is a human. He too is a brother, a son, a husband and a father. He too would not like to be killed or get critically injured. In the interests of our jawans, our government should explore and stress on initiatives aimed at earning greater goodwill of the inhabitants of Jammu & Kashmir and north-east border states; so that the massive deployment of Indian Army jawans in these areas, particularly Jammu & Kashmir is enabled to be lessened; easing off the current pressure & exposure on our army jawans and making their lives more liveable.
Our army jawans are commonly from rural areas and their mindset is often endearingly simple and straightforward. The Indian Army jawan would be taken aback at the “patriotic pastimes” that quite a few of our countrymen indulge in, in his name. This composition, dedicated to our army jawans, seeks to bring out the same.
Poverty has to be eliminated. Whether it be through the government or through charity. If one really cares about the nation, the society; one has to contribute, first of all, to elimination of poverty.
This composition, based on a real life tragedy, gravitates on laying bare the untold misery that being poor means.
Now, the comments or views posted on social media when Team India plays are so much lesser. Only here and there, you find someone – as you walk along the roads – listening to the radio commentary and whereas; earlier, just about every house, shop or eating place resounded with cheers or groans to the TV commentary on the game; it is only again here and there that one finds the game being followed on TV today and the interest definitely not as passionate as it used to be.
While cricket continues to be quite popular in India; its popularity definitely has declined; – and declined significantly. Why so?
Witch hunting arising out of the recent JNU incident is capable of opening up a pandora’s box; entangling the present central government in unnecessary controversy and wasting its energy. India is big enough and with roots deep enough to take such incidents in its stride and to focus on the most pressing goals of all round peace, prosperity and development.
Do ghosts exist? Is there a world of the supernatural?
Well, I haven’t till date seen any ghost. But I have had some honest to god experiences which makes me certain that the supernatural does exist!
The subject matter of reservation is a contentious one, near always in news and – not infrequently – the cause of considerable conflict and disturbance. Jargon and cliche generally abound in discussions relating to the subject matter; which rather than helping, often confound the perspective.
The present write up seeks to put across the issues lying at the heart of the subject matter in a manner as to help lessen the debate and agression on the subject.
Phantom is a Super-Hero.
Phantom has saved the lives of thousands of other dogs, mules and horses. With time, the number of dogs, mules and horses he would have saved would climb into millions and more.
This is the real-life story of how he achieved this grandest of feats.
On one side there is a very sorry state in much of the Indian countryside and there are ever increasing problems, on the other side, in urban centres on account of the rural immigration taking place on account of the rural deprivation. It does not take any genius to see that rural development PRIORITIZATION is an absolute must to bring the lines of development in India on a rational scale and measure.
Then why such appropriate prioritization by successive central governments is not happening?
Nationalists are persons who by virtue of the sincerity of the feeling they have for humanity at large are able to turn their activities to the betterment of their more familiar and near surroundings that their nation represents, including its defence against any destructive or harmful threat; but, in the same breath, are also able to connect with a warm heart with the global humanity at large.
Nationalism & internationalism – far from having any mutual contradictions – strongly merge and flow into each other.
Both as a matter of working and thinking of principles of natural justice as also the reading of human history – both not removed from each other; the concept of secularism seems eminently justified and worthy of entire support.
And secularism is not a concept borrowed from the west. The propaganda that secularism is a concept borrowed from the west has to be shred apart. Secularism, very much to the contrary, is rooted in Indian thought from the very ancient times and has been poised and reflected in the most prestigious repositories of such thought, belief, culture and practice.
Interference with matters of religious practice forming arguably the subject matter of a civil code by the State has to be SELECTIVE AND NOT UNIFORM; to be couched and shaped by the degree of objection that any such particular religious practice may invite having regard to secular concepts of justice or propriety.
This inequality needs to be combated and it is possible to do so in a practical and reasonable manner.
On one side is extreme privatisation promoted by capitalists and on the other side lay extreme state monopoly advocated by communists. In between, however, there is space for public and private sector participation which would still place money in the hands of the government instead of all of it going to top business houses, which money would be possible to be put to the betterment of the deprived sections.
Maruti India had started out as a government-suzuki participation and did well. Why can’t such examples be increased ?
The minister’s towel was nowhere to be seen. It was absolutely urgent that it was found. Or heads were going to roll. After an earth-shaking hunt, it was finally unearthed. But from where and how ?
The question now – occupying considerable public debate and discussion in the aftermath of the Pathankot terrorist attack – is what should be India’s reaction and policy towards Pakistan now?
Quite a few from the Indian citizenry seem to be in favour of undertaking military action against Pakistan; while another quarter would like the peace initiative to grow.
The war is not just on the frontiers or that involving terrorists.
In fact, a far, far greater, uglier, much more reprehensible and heinous war – a largely uncontested war where the aggressors rule the roost – is taking place in the streets and roads, villages, houses, public places and slums of India. This is where girls – even babies – and women are so numerously and repeatedly molested, raped and harassed to an unimaginable extent.
National Security Guards (NSG) is supposedly the outfit with particular specialisation for counter-terrorist operations. How does NSG keep itself abreast of the latest techniques, strategies, trainings, weaponry and devices at global level?
NSG is headed by the director-general, who comes from the IPS. The average tenure of all the director-generals of NSG has been just over a year. None of these director-generals heading the NSG & coming from the IPS have ever been a part of any action group of the NSG. Are such heads of the NSG the right persons to lead premier counter-terrorist outfits then?
Criminal defamation proceedings, in the last few years, seem to have become much more numerous. Recently the Supreme Court has asked the central government whether it is possible to dilute the criminal defamation provisions in the IPC. Actually it’s just not the dilution, but also the safeguards that are required in the criminal defamation provisions. Here are the suggested manner of dilution and safeguards that need to be undertaken to the current criminal defamation provisions.
KNOWLEDGE IN ALL ITS FORMS AND ITS CONSTRUCTIVE USE IS WHAT DRIVES PROGRESS OF ECONOMIES. THE ALL VITAL QUESTION, THEREFORE, HOW TO SHAPE THE EDUCATION POLICY AS TO BEST FURTHER THE PROGRESS OF ECONOMY AND NATION.
When Nehru commenced the Space research program for India; the situation was not that dissimilar. Amongst others, it was touted as “needless expenditure”. But today, thanks to Nehru; India has a say and a sound place in space research & is putting satellites of a number of developed countries in orbit !!
THE BACKLOG OF CASES IN OUR COURTS IS THUNDEROUS. AND THE BACKLOGS ARE GOING TO INCREASE EVEN IF THE NUMBER OF COURTS ETC ARE INCREASED. A SOCIETY WITHOUT A PROPERLY WORKING JUSTICE-DELIVERY SYSTEM SPELLS DIRE PERIL FOR ITS INNOCENTS & COMMONS. THE JURY SYSTEM – A BASTION OF JUSTICE DELIVERY SYSTEM IN DEVELOPED JURISDICTIONS – HAS TO BE INTRODUCED.
WE INDIANS LACK INDIVIDUALITY, BUT ARE BURSTING WITH POTENTIALITY ! WITH A POTENTIALITY-FRIENDLY EDUCATION SYSTEM, MIRACLES CAN HAPPEN OVERNIGHT !!
THIS DEFINITION REQUIRES CAREFUL READING. IT COVERS CASES SUCH AS ASSASSINATION OF GANDHI & ACTS OF VIOLENCE ON THE ISSUE WHETHER THEY WERE TERRORIST ACTS OR NOT, APART FROM ACTS OF AGGRESSION AT NATION-SCALE.
The Indian democracy is young, very young. But it seems to have been kicked started ino adulthood as the recent return of awards seems to indicate.
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