I think it would be most appropriate to recall the great Ahmedabad trial at this juncture when the centennial of the Gandhian satyagraha in South Africa is commemorated worldwide. When Mahatma Gandhi entered the Central Hall of the Government Circuit House at Ahmedabad on the 18th of March, 1922 to face a trial on a charge of sedition under section 124A of the Indian Penal Code about two hundred spectators inside the improvised courtroom stood up as a mark of respect to the frail figure in loincloth.
The Gujarat State Assembly while amending its anti-conversion law classified Jains and Buddhists as part of Hinduism. Such a classification is an unwarranted assault on the distinct religious identity recognised by the Indian Constitution itself.
One is tempted at the outset to pay a left-handed compliment to the the Modi government that it has unwittingly done a great service to the cause of Jain religious identity and its minority status by taking this absurd and constitutionally untenable step of including the Jains along with the Buddhists in the Hindu religion.
Submitted by Bal Patil on Thursday, September 15, 2005 - 12:08
30. But unfortunately this Constitutional position was dealt a severe blow by the judgment of the Bench of three Judges in Manohar Joshi v. Nitin Bhaurao as noted above. If in the Manohar Joshi case the Supreme court made a severe dent in the secular structure of the Constitution in the Jain minority matter it has gone overboard and sought to dismantle the secular citadel of the Constitution itself and all in the name of protecting the Constitution. Then it was a matter of the encroachment of Hindutva in the Representation of the People Act", now it has inscribed judicial inroads by riding roughshod over the basic concept of the Constitutional Preambulary secular ideal itself.
Submitted by Bal Patil on Thursday, September 15, 2005 - 12:05
12. In view of the foregoing the extra-Judicial observations of the Supreme Court Judgment on the religious status of the Jain community as part of the Hindu religious are absolutely without any basis. Also the remarks against the National leaders like Nehru, Patel and the very Father of the Nation as responsible for the partition of India are obnoxious.
13. As a matter of fact the entire tenor of the SC observations on the National and State Minority Commissions as leading to “fissiparous tendencies” and hence calling for their closure are highly objectionable as they question the basic tenets of the Indian secular Constitution and hence need to be expunged.