The Big Picture – Safeguarding Minority Rights: Role of Judiciary
Secularism is one such topic which is widely debated and subjected to wider range of interpretations from time to time. The debate on secularism invariably includes the role of judiciary and the how the rights of minorities are interpreting and implemented in reality. In latest round of debate vice president Hamid Ansari’s passionate plea to Supreme Court to clarify the contours of principles of secularism and composite culture and as to how state and religion should be kept apart to promote harmony in the society has triggered a huge discussion. This article deals with the role of judiciary in safeguarding minority rights.
To expect Supreme Court to define secularism is too much of an obnoxious outlook as Supreme Court by itself is not bound by its own judgements. With changing times the dynamic issue like secularism is more prone to evolve as the generations evolve.
The Supreme Court in its various judgements has implicitly mentioned that the society should move towards having a uniform civil code. But this is not easy as it is said. However governments and political executives need to work towards creating a favourable environment so that the society can adopt uniform civil code without compromising the interests of the minorities. The role of the state in such transitions should be as minimal as possible but not zero. Political executive need to be sensible and prudent in not creating any undue situations so that the idea of secularism is distorted to the advantage of few.
However other experts are of the view that the role of the judiciary in interpreting things like secularism comes only when the executive and legislative has failed to give a proper understanding to the public if otherwise has the potential to create unwarranted tensions in the society. It is necessary to have faith in constitution, executive, legislature in resolving such issues rather than bypassing all three and looking for solution in judiciary.
The concept of Secularism is like flowing water. It is never the same. It is not possible have a fixed ideas about it. Rather it is necessary have wide ranges of debate as time evolves and try to accommodate ideas to the best interest of people of our country reaffirming the vibrant culture that is celebrated over years. The issue is complex and has high probability for misinterpretation; it is the duty of the state in preventing such incidents and work towards creating more just and humane society.