According to a recent report in Times of India, the judges of Uttarakhand High Court has taken exception to the submission by the advocate general (AG) that “shastras might not permit livestreaming of the rituals”. To this, the court replied: “India is a democratic country ruled by law, not by shastras.” The bench that made the remark was composed of Chief Justice RS Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma.
They asked the Advocate General SN Babulkar to not get into religious arguments as they have no legal backing and asked him to show the provision in IT Act that says livestreaming can be permitted from the temple.
In its hearing on Wednesday, the chief justice had claimed that he has read the shastras and nowhere do they prohibit such a technology. The court had also then ordered a four-week stay on the Char Dham yatra, calling the cabinet’s decision “arbitrary and unreasonable”. The state government has challenged the order in the apex court.
Some questions for the honourable court
- Why can there not be Char Dham Yatra in a limited manner, by allowing only those people who have completed vaccinations? Clearly, the honourable judges either have low trust on science and technology, or just choose to invoke the same only in cases where Hindu Dharma can be harmed?
- The Court should enlighten us why exactly is there a need for live-stream from temples? Devotees usually go to the temples nearest to them for offering regular pujas and the importance of teerthas is tied with the journey the devotees take to reach the same. If livestreaming could serve the religious purposes, there would be no need of yatra anymore!
- Has the learned judge divined the meaning of the shastras or just read them like one reads a novel? Is he expert enough in the Sanskrit language and Hindu tradition of exegesis to understand the meaning of the same? Without it, he has no right to lecture on the same. For better understanding, let us ask the honourable justice if he would allow a non-lawyer to argue a case in his court?
- Will the court ever advise the government to force mosques to start using mobile apps to deliver the five time azaan to Muslims, rather than a loudspeaker? Afterall, neither the loudspeaker, nor any app is mentioned in the Quran.
If the court cannot comfortably answer the above, it is just trying to look good to the liberal crowd and indulging in convenient secularism. By all accounts, the interpretation of shastras evolves along with times. In any case, the court is not competent to comment on it.
The constitution and laws of Bharat do not empower the court to interfere in the religious matter of any community. The state, and judiciary as its extention, may regulate secular aspects of Hindu temples but decision on livestreaming from a garbhgriha decidedly is a religious matter. Therefore, the Uttarakhand High Court must remain in its constitutionally drawn limits.
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