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Politicians cannot seek votes in name of religion & caste: SC verdict will be effective only after political reforms
In a split verdict, a 7-member constitutional bench of the Supreme Court ruled that politicians can't seek votes in the name of caste, religion, language or creed. The split among the bench was too close as the verdict was delivered in 4:3 ration.

Frankly speaking, I am against politics of caste, religion, creed and even language. But there are two concerns which need to be deliberated.

First, what would be the terms that will be considered as offence, if used? If someone say that our party will do justice for 'dalits' will it be considered as offending? If someones says his/her party will ensure that minority community gets justice, will it be considered as electoral malpractice? If someone during the upcoming UP elections commits that he/she will ensure that Bhojpuri language be written on currencies. Will it be a crime?

Point is simple, there are some terms which can be very cunningly used to indicate the politics of caste, religion or language. Let's consider another example, if a Maulavi asks the Muslim community to vote a particular party or for that matter a Sankaracharya asks people to vote for a particular party. Here, neither the Maulavi nor the Sankaracharya would be contesting elections, they would be only advising a particular religion using their religious position. Thus they are not politicians yet did the job of politicians. Then how such thing can be stopped?

Even if some words would be prohibited by the Election Commission (EC), then also politicians will find other terms that are not in the list at the same time mean exactly the prohibited one. That means only litigations will increase in courts.

My next concern is, although doing politics on caste, creed, religion or language etc are bad but shouldn't politicians or contesting candidates address the discrimination (both social and political)?

In some parts of the country, minority community is purely discriminated because majority has the deciding political power. In Kashmir, Gujarat and in some other places minorities feel discriminated. Similarly, in West Bengal, some parts of UP and Bihar, majority feels discriminated. Thus the candidates have to address such discrimination and has to present a way in which discrimination can be ended.

Yes, the intent of doing politics on such issues purely for the sake of vested interests should be barred. One can't be allowed to provoke people (which will damage social harmony and divide communities). Such people should be banned from contesting elections.

The Supreme Court need to clarify this as well as set up a committee to bring behavioural reform among the politicians and their politics. The Election Commission has practically no authority to bring in such reforms. The way it is reforming the BCCI, I think it's time to reform the entire politics. Unless such reform takes place, I don't think this verdict will be of any use.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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