Politicians are barred from seeking votes in the name of religion, caste or creed the Supreme Court ruled today in a landmark judgment, ahead of crucial assembly polls in five states.
Pronouncing the verdict, a seven-judge bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur, who retires on Tuesday told that, "Freedom to follow religion has nothing to do with the secular nature of the state. The relationship between man and god is an individual choice and state is forbidden to have allegiance to such an activity."
The court's bench said today by a 4:3 majority that elections are a secular exercise and that the relationship between people and whom they worship is an individual choice. Therefore, the state is forbidden to interfere in such an activity, the court said.
Minority ruling states that "constitution allows a person from taking the position on religion, language and candidate can raise such issues in an election."
The ruling gives wider meaning to Section 123 of Representation of People Act to stamp out the use of religion and community affiliation from elections. The judgment will have far-reaching implications in the states that go to the polls just months from now, especially in Uttar Pradesh, where the construction of a Ram Temple in Ayodhya is always used to woo voters.
The court gave a wider meaning to Section 123 of the Representation of People Act to stamp out the use of religion and community affiliation from elections