Can court ask a secular State to construct a temple?.

Ayodhya judgment raises several questions for jurists to answer

The Ayodhya judgment has raised several questions for jurists to answer. Prominent among these is whether the Supreme Court’s direction to the Central government to formulate a scheme and set up a trust to facilitate the construction of a temple on the disputed land would amount to a breach of the secular character of the State.


Can a secular State be ordered to facilitate the construction of a temple, which is an essential part of the Hindu belief? Does this not amount to a secular State fostering a particular religion?

Justice K. Chandru, former Madras High Court judge, referred to the nine-judge Bench judgment in the S.R. Bommai case of 1994 in this regard. “The Bommai decision clearly said the State should be divorced from religion,” he said.

The Bommai judgment said the concept of secular State was essential in a democracy. “State is neither pro-particular religion nor anti-particular religion. It stands aloof, in other words maintains neutrality in matters of religion and provides equal protection to all religions,” it observed.

‘No breach of constitutional secularism’

Eminent jurist, Upendra Baxi, however, said there was no breach of constitutional secularism involved in the Centre being given the responsibility.

Former National Law School India University (NLSIU) Bengaluru Vice-Chancellor and eminent constitutional expert R. Venkata Rao, agreed. “The inscription of the Supreme Court is ‘yato dharma tato jaya’ [where there is dharma there is victory]. It is taken from the Bhagavad Gita. Now, it defies logic to say the Supreme Court is a religious institution,” he said.

Current Affairs Home