New Delhi: Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) on Saturday voiced concern over the Supreme Court judgment that banned the use of religion and caste to seek votes and claimed the order can be “misused”.
On January 2, a seven-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court said that religion, race, caste, community or language will not be allowed to be misused in elections and that the election of an elected representative will be declared null and void if votes are sought on such considerations.
JIH President Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umari said there was no clarity regarding the way in which the oppression and injustice meted out to certain castes can be voiced during polls.
“The judgment does not answer how legitimate grievances regarding the uplift of specific religious communities could be addressed during elections,” Umari told reporters here.
“There is a strong possibility that parties contesting elections on ‘Hindutva’ plank will use it as a shield for their communal appeal to voters and claim they are not seeking votes on the basis of religion but on the basis of way of life,” Umari said.
In December 1995, a three-judge Supreme Court bench held that seeking votes in the name of Hinduism was not a corrupt practice under Section 123 of the Representation of the People Act.
“If their logic is accepted by the courts then it will cause great damage to our pluralistic polity and pave the way for majoritarianism.”
The JIH leader said that the Muslim body “expects the judiciary to address these apprehensions and hopes the judgment is implemented in letter and spirit to ensure that elections are fought on the basis of issues and ideology”.
Meanwhile, JIH leaders also said that the decision to pass amendments to the Enemy Property Bill through an ordinance was “undemocratic and infringement of Fundamental Rights of citizens”.
“It appears as though this bill is meant to harass minorities and the Muslim community of India will face the maximum brunt of this bill,” said Muhammad Salim Engineer, Secretary General of JIH.
The JIH demanded that such an amendment should be passed “in a democratic manner through Parliament and ensure it does not cause any injustice to anyone”.