**New Delhi: ** The political parties on Monday welcomed the Supreme Court’s ruling which termed as “illegal” any appeal for votes on the basis of caste, community, religion or language.
Commenting on the decision by the bench headed by Chief Justice of India Justice T.S. Thakur, Communist Party of India leader D. Raja told IANS, “The whole judgement needs to be studied.”
“These are all there in the Representation of the People Act that makes it clear that religion and politics must be kept separate and no one should use these for political and electoral gain,” said Raja.
“It is a strong message that has been sent out,” he said, adding that one would have to wait to find out whether the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh) and other Sangh Parivar outfits and various fundamentalist organisations would abide by the apex court’s verdict.
Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi told IANS, “I welcome this pragmatic message coming from the Supreme Court with regard to how politics has come to be dominated by caste and religious equations, especially by some parties which have made these part of their ideology to rise in Indian politics.”
“This needed to be discouraged and I welcome the move of the Supreme Court,” the Congress leader added.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal also welcomed the court ruling, calling it a historic moment.
RJD leader Manoj Jha told IANS, “I believe this is a milestone moment for Indian politics and public life.”
He said an anomaly was created when the apex court observed in the 1990s that the Hindutva was not a religion but a way of life, Jha said.
In 1995 a three-judge bench of the Supreme court, headed by the then CJI J.S. Verma, had delivered a controversial judgment that categorically held that an appeal to Hindutva or Hinduism did not automatically mean an appeal to Hindus in the name of religion.
The RJD leader also said that as far as caste was concerned there was a “grey area” and that needed to be underlined.
“Casteism and speaking about inequality are two different things, so I would urge the Supreme Court to look at this grey area which can be used by the political parties with huge resources to put such parties in perpetual legal quagmire,” the RJD leader added.