Political Hinduism in the courts of law: Religious speech and struggle for democracy in India

Bindal, Amit (2022) Political Hinduism in the courts of law: Religious speech and struggle for democracy in India. Indonesian Journal of International and Comparative Law, 9 (2). pp. 153-180. ISSN 2338-770X

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This essay demonstrates the conceptual confusion that courts in India have cre ated in interpreting religion as a cultural category. It suggests that “appeal to religion” during elections is interpreted by the Indian Supreme Court providing legitimacy to the sectarian rhetoric of Hindu nationalists during elections. In this way, the judicial reasoning has aligned with and unknowingly promoted the divisive vocabulary and religion-based bigotry during election campaigns. Through a close reading of the judicial archive of Indian Supreme Court cas es (1960-1996) it will demonstrate how the judicial discourse aligned with the rhetoric of Hindu nationalists in India and how its continuous presence can be felt in the political discourse in contemporary India. Various other scholarly treatments on the issue have emphasised on the effects of political regimes on judicial verdicts. Departing for that approach, this essay will propose that the critical scrutiny of the structural flaws of the judicial process provide a deeper insight in understanding the interpretive fallacy when modern courts deal with issues of religion or mythology. This essay will show that within the archive/ precedents of the judicial discourse there was an emerging trend of decisions which eventually lead to legitimation of political Hinduism in Indian courts. Relying on discourse analysis of the judicial archive, the article suggests that an alternative approach is discernible from within the law to arrive at just outcome when courts interpret religious speech during elections. The essay focuses on the judicial discourse of the Supreme Court of India on Hinduism but does not limit itself to that.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Religious Freedom | Law and Religion | Nationalism Freedom of Speech
Subjects: Social Sciences and humanities > Social Sciences > Human Rights
Social Sciences and humanities > Social Sciences > Law and Legal Studies
JGU School/Centre: Jindal Global Law School
Depositing User: Amees Mohammad
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2022 05:40
Last Modified: 22 Dec 2022 09:29
URI: https://pure.jgu.edu.in/id/eprint/4209


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