The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that seeking votes in the name of religion during polls is illegal. The Supreme Court in a majority verdict, held that any appeal for votes on the ground of religion amounts to corrupt practices under electoral laws.The hearing of the case had been going for over six days ,During the hearing by a seven judge Constitutional bench, the apex court had said that it would not reconsider its 1995 judgment that defined Hindutva as ‘a way of life and not a religion’
The seven-judge Constitution bench comprising chief justice T.S. Thakur, justices Madan B. Lokur, S.A. Bobde, Adarsh Kumar Goel, U.U. Lalit, D.Y. Chandrachud and L. Nageswara Rao has delivered this historic verdict.
According to section 123 (3) of the People’s Representation Act of 1951, no candidate or his agent can appeal for votes on the grounds of religion, race, caste, community or language. The Bombay High Court had in the mid-1990s set aside the election of Shiv Sena leader and former Maharashtra chief minister Manohar Joshi and the matter was then moved to Supreme Court. The Supreme Court in 1995 had overturned the Bombay High Court order and remarked that Hindutva is a way of life and not a way of religion.