Monday, September 28, 2015

The Judiciary Protecting the Rights of India's Religious Minorities and Protecting all Citizens from Laws that Stifle Free Speech

It is the judiciary that upheld that if a sect of Christians, in the practice of their faith, chose to not sing the national anthem but still stood up, they had the freedom to do so (an argument that would obviously apply to Vande Mataram for Muslims and Christians not wanting to sing it, for they have not objected to patriotic songs or patriotic slogans in general, but they believe that they can respect, but not worship, anyone other than God, be it the motherland or their own parents). It is the judiciary, thanks to which many innocent civilians – Muslims, Adivasis and others – falsely framed as terrorists, have been exonerated. It is the judiciary which has convicted hundreds of rioters in connection with the anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat in 2002 (in cases relating to massacres such as in the Best Bakery, Ode, Sardarpura and Naroda Patiya), hundreds in connection with the anti-Sikh riots in 1984 (though some prominent politicians in connection with the anti-Sikh riots in 1984 are yet to be convicted) and the anti-Christian riots in the Kandhamal district of Odisha in 2008 (in which MLAs like Manoj Pradhan were convicted), and recently, it upheld the right of the Greenpeace activist to travel abroad (who was being prevented from doing so by the Modi government on the bizarre ground that she would malign India) and even struck down Section 66A of the Information Technology Act (that made the not-defined annoying or inconveniencing someone online a criminal offence punishable by an imprisonment term of up to three years!) as unconstitutional. 

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