On campaigning in the name of religion

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: Polity, Topic: Elections and RPA, Issue: Election Process

Context: Political parties filed complaint regarding use of religion during campaign

Provisions to restrict use of religion in politics:

  • Section 123(3) of the RP Act bans appeals based on religion, race, caste, community, or language in elections.
  • Section 123(3A) condemns attempts by candidates to incite enmity or hatred among citizens on these grounds during elections.
  • The Model code of conduct mandates parties and candidates to avoid actions exacerbating differences or causing tension between communities.
  • It prohibits appeals to caste or communal feelings for votes and bans the use of places of worship for election propaganda.
  • The Supreme Court has ruled that candidates can’t seek votes based on their or voters’ religion.
+1 advantage for mains(Case law)

Abhiram Singh vs. C. D. Commachen (2017)

●       The majority view provided a ‘purposive interpretation’ to Section 123(3)and  declared that any appeal in the name of religion of the voters as a corrupt electoral practice.

●       Constitutional ethos forbids the mixing of religious considerations with the secular functions of the State.

●       Purposive interpretation is a method used to understand the meaning of a text,(laws and constitutions) by focusing on its intended purpose.

●       Goes beyond the literal meaning of the words and considers the objective behind the text.

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