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The curious case of the ‘Hindu Court’

A Hindu outfit, Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha announced on Wednesday that the group has set up India’s first ‘Hindu court’. The court is set up much like the Sharia courts already running in the country. According to the group, this court will function much like the Sharia courts and just like the Sharia courts which deal exclusively with Muslim affairs, the Hindu court will deal explicitly with Hindu affairs. The court also got its first judge in a ceremony that was held at the party’s office in Meerut.

According to Pandit Ashok Sharma, the national vice-president of the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha, the group has expressed its disapproval of the Sharia courts already functioning in the country. The group earlier in a letter to the government stated the problem of not having uniformity as far law of the land and constitutional norms are concerned. They have also explicitly told the government that if their demands are not met, they will set up a ‘Hindu Court’. That is exactly what they did. Ashok Sharma is also the head of the five-member sangrakshak mandal of the Hindu court.

The idea of a separate court on the basis of religious laws is not new in India as we already have sharia courts and time and time again it has been proven that such intertwining of religious and judicial matters lead to radicalization. The set-up of the ‘Hindu Court’ seems a reactionary response rather than a serious ambition of setting up a parallel judicial structure.

According to the group, they plan to declare their bylaws by 2nd October. They also intend to have their own jails. They intend to appoint five judges throughout the country by 15th November. The court will deal with issues ranging from harassment of Hindu woman to dispute of property or money and the maximum sentence will be the death penalty.

The pattern here is one of ominous nature. If not addressed properly, this issue can pose a greater sense of division within the society as other prominent religions will also try and create their own separate judicial apparatus, which will lead to a state of confusion and pose a serious threat to the constitutional and legal framework of the Indian democracy.

Now this is where it becomes dangerous and preposterous, though in all probabilities, the group will not succeed in any of these aimed actitives. Because if they try and enforce their judgments, it would constitute a legal breach and criminal offense.

On the other hand, if they want to have mock trials much like when the students and teachers at JNU who held a mock trial against their VC or mediocre show Rakhi Ka Insaaf they absolutely can. Such courts have no legal validity and should be called, as a senior administrative official of the JNU termed them – “Kangaroo courts”.

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