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A public interest litigation has been filed in the Supreme Court against the controversial verdict of the Meghalaya High Court, which had stated that India should have been declared a Hindu country during Partition.
The petition was heard today by a Bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna.
Read also: India should have been declared a Hindu country, Meghalaya High Court [Read Full Judgment]
Justice SR Sen: Meghalaya High Court has urged the Prime Minister, Home Minister, Law Minister and the MPs to enact laws to allow the Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhist, Parsis, Christians, Khasis, Jaintias and Garos who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to live in India and to be given citizenship.
“I am of the view and that I will fail in my duty if I do not project the original India and its partition.”
“Pakistan declared themselves as an Islamic country and India since was divided on the basis of religion should have also been declared as a Hindu country but it remained as a secular country.”
In the petition filed through advocate Ashutosh Dubey, the petitioners have contended that the judgment authored by Justice Sudip Ranjan Sen is legally flawed and historically misleading, with the judge making Islamophobic remarks and indulging in judicial overreach.
The role of a judge is to limit himself to the question at hand and answer it within the framework of the law and the Constitution, the petition states.
However, the observations made by the judge violates the citizenship law and makes a case for India as a country of and for Hindus, the petition contends.
Referring to the suggestions in the judgment to enact laws to grant citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhist, Parsis, Christians, Khasis, Jaintias and Garos who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, the petition states that the judge himself is opposing Article 15 of the Constitution, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion.
By observing that Pakistan was declared an Islamic State and India should have been declared a Hindu country, the judge has overlooked the historical fact that the framers of the Constitution, in a conscious decision, decided to create a religion-neutral and progressive State.
The petition also states that the judge blames poor educationally backward Bengali Muslims for siding with the Assamese and suggests that any Bengali Hindu from a foreign country should be given citizenship as and when she migrates to India without mandating any production of documents. This goes against Article 15, besides being in violation of Articles 5 to 11 of the Constitution, the petition states.
The petition also refers to the statement in the judgment that the current NRC process is defective “as many foreigners become Indians and many original Indians are left out which is very sad”.
The petitioners have alleged that the judge has brought in his political faith and communal views into his judgment.
“By smuggling in his brazen communal view on partition and making an obvious political statement on a proposed amendment to Citizenship Act, the Ld. Judge has undermined the preeminent role of Parliament and independence of judiciary”, the petition reads.
A high ranking judicial officer must maintain the decorum of the court and not make political pronouncements or observations like these, the petitioners contend.
Alleging that the judgment has damaged the impartiality of judicial institutions and crosses all limits of secular Constitutional principles, the petition prays for withdrawing judicial work from Justice Sen.
The Bench headed by CJI Gogoi said that the prayer made cannot be allowed by the Supreme Court. It, therefore, directed the petitioners to amend the prayer and seek expunction of the controversial remarks in the judgment.
The matter is now likely to be listed next week.