By ; Aabid Mushtaq
The Indian constitution opens up with the words, “we the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SECULAR as one of the basic feature that holds an important position in the constitution, due to its marvelous position, which defines the nature of political system of the country.
The secular nature of India is integral to the Indian Constitution as held by the Supreme Court in cases title “Kesavananda Bharati v State of Kerala AIR (1973) 4 SCC 225” and again reiterated in“S.R Bommai v Union of India, AIR (1994) SC 1918”; that every religion be protected equally and people belonging to different religious groups be given equal treatment.
Undoubtedly, India has been one of the good emporium to varied religions as was setting up the example of practical secularism somehow , till these concocted and mala fide terms comes to degrade , uproot and prepare the last breathes of secularism.
India is going through a dark phase that was perhaps never wished for by its founding fathers. The brunt of this darkness is borne by Indians across the country, but disproportionately affects the minorities, particularly Muslims.
However, today, not only is the executive heavily and unlawfully favoring the dominant Hindu majority, all other organs of the government including the law enforcement agencies also seem to be on this same page.
The one kind of its incident in the country where Muslims were falsely held responsible for the spread of the Covid-19 virus – centered around the media’s focus on the Tablighi Jamaat Markaz – was worrisome and a manifestation of the hatred for Muslims by India’s Hindus. The idea behind corona-Jihad was criminalization of Muslims, their religious gatherings. This ultimately failed in utter shame when the Bombay High Court held that the Tablighi Jamaat event held in Delhi in March this year, were made “scapegoats” and allegations were leveled that they were responsible for spreading COVID-19 in the country. to the recent incident of UPSC JIHAD, wherein a news correspondent comes with news in which he is investigating why Muslims get increasing number of recruitment in civil services? Using such tactics to dominate and harass the Muslims has become norm of this government for their political vindictive vendetta to amass the votes. Henceforth, becomes cataclysmic for the democratic and secular nature of governance.
The political system of a country gets demean when campaigns are being carried out on these lines as the D. D. Basu in his commentary on the Constitution of India says, “No sane person would question the proposition that the objects of Religion and politics are different and that they shouldn’t be mixed up. Obviously, the cause of both will be ruined if one is used for achieving the purposes of other.” The current political scenario in India is, however, clear that religion is used as a means to gain political might and power by exploiting the emotions of people on religious grounds.
The new development in this sequence erupts lately, when the Yogi Aditiyanath led government in UP has passed an ordinance which bans the interfaith marriage between a Muslim boy and a Hindu girl, more specifically called it a Love-jihad to further suppress the Muslims. “Love jihad” is a term used by the political and religious right to describe an alleged phenomenon where Muslim men lure Hindu women, by any means, into marrying them and converting to Islam. Right-wing propagandists claim that this is an organized tumult rooted in a widespread conspiracy. Although so many have nullified such contentions of the UP governments claims and also such forcible or coercive conversions are already punishable under certain legislations. Therefore, the main ulterior motive behind this ordinance is to outlaw the secularism, to suffocate the Muslims by snatching their identity in Indian societies.
These marriages solemnised since decades and are permissible under Special Marriage Act, 1954. The Special Marriage Act (SMA) is not concerned with the religion of the person intending to get married. This applies to all parties who are registered under the SMA. The Act is not concerned whether the marriage took place between the people of same religion or between persons of different religion. This Act contains provisions to rule inter-religious marriage and for the registration of marriage. Due to these features, a marriage registered under this act is known as a civil marriage.
The law is clear on this point, as this ordinance would vitiate the most important fundamental right i.e, Article 21 of the constitution of India. which grants an individual the fundamental right of privacy and protects his/her ability to make intimate choices and decisions and also which is a derivate right having essence to act a vanguard for upholding all other basic rights of the citizens. Therefore, when such capricious ordinances will be put to the test of constitutionality, does not seem other than an illegal and unconstitutional ordinance. Furthermore, the propose ordinance aims to deprive a woman of her agency and tries to control her female sexuality, which is again an arbitrary and discriminatory against women’s.
Moreover, a recent ruling by the Allahabad High Court stated, though conversion for merely a marriage is invalid but “Right to live with a person of his/her choice irrespective of religion professed by them, is intrinsic to right to life and personal liberty. Interference in a personal relationship would constitute a serious encroachment into the right to freedom of choice of the two individuals.” The Court added, “We fail to understand that if the law permits two persons even of the same sex to live together peacefully then neither any individual nor a family nor even the state can have any objection to the relationship of two major individuals who out of their own free will are living together.
This anti conversion of religion ordinance has made the lives of Muslims miserable. The staggering in the arrests of Muslims once found with the Hindu girls is of serious concern for degrading the foundational principle of unity in diversity on which Indian communities are progressing. According to one report, at least 34 persons have been arrested so far in the state under the recently promulgated ordinance and every arrest have been carried out after every 48 hours.
Such ordinances and government orders sometimes must be reconciled with the mala fide and malice hidden behind it, as same UP government is warning to change the name of Hyderabad to “Bhagyanagar” . For changing and unchanging, the history, identity, dominance of Muslims leads to the existential threat for the Muslims. Religiously motivated decisions and actions are destroying the ethos of India. If these anti-minority laws and the government’s tacit support to hate crimes against Muslims remains the norm, the implications would be unprecedented. An irony is that the same UP government had tried to protect the hathras rape accused, showing unconcern towards the heinous criminals and crimes on one hand, and at the other hand vilifying the matter, which is a constitutionally guaranteed right under Articles 21and 14 of Indian Constitution. These self styled, concocted ideas of Jihad are evasive, arbitrary in nature and should be nullified otherwise are detrimental for the growth and development for the nation who claims to have the world’s largest democracy in the world.
Aabid Mushtaq , student of law at school of law ,University of Kashmir and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .