Mixing Religion With Politics Dangerous: Liberhan

The Liberhan Commission that probed the Babri Masjid demolition came down heavily on mixing politics and religion and has recommended a law providing for exemplary punishment for such misuse to acquire political power.  The voluminous
mixing religion with politics dangerous liberhan...
PTI November 25, 2009 13:50 IST

The Liberhan Commission that probed the Babri Masjid demolition came down heavily on mixing politics and religion and has recommended a law providing for exemplary punishment for such misuse to acquire political power. 

The voluminous report of the Commission, which was submitted in June 17 years after it was set up under chairmanship of Justice Manmohan Singh Liberhan, was tabled in both Houses of Parliament by Home Minister P Chidambaram. 

The 13-page Action Taken Report (ATR), tabled by the Home Minister, said the government accepted the recommendation and is contemplating enactment of the Communal Violence Bill to prevent and control riots and setting up special courts to deal with them. 

The ATR makes no reference to the indictment of top BJP leaders, including L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Kalyan Singh and leaders of various Sangh Parivar outfits made in the report. 

The Commission was constituted ten days after the demolition of the disputed structure in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992. 

The Commission said the Constitutional scheme to separate religion from politics was intended to insulate issues of governance from those of theology. 

The Commission said "while it may be useful and indeed desirable to import certain aspects of ethics and morality into the political arena, the use of religion, caste or regionalism is a regressive and dangerous trend capable of alienating people and dividing them into small sections." 

Justice Liberhan said the events of December 6, 1992 and the many subsequent events have already shown to the nation the danger and the disruptive potential of allowing the inter-mixing of religion and politics. 

He said the extraneous interference in democratic affairs for acquiring political power through criminalisation of political office or mixing of political and religious affairs has become the order of the day. 

"A separate law providing for exemplary punishment for misuse of religion, caste, etc. for political gains or illicit acquisition of political or other power ought to be enacted. 

"Regional tribunals for ensuring swift prosecution and effective implementation of the law ought to be set up in the four corners of the country," the report said. 

The ATR said it accepted the recommendation and one of the measures contemplated is the Communal Violence (Prevention, Control and Rehabilitation of Victims), which envisions the setting up of Special Courts.

As regards cases arising out of Babri Masjid demolition, the ATR refers to cases filed against eight accused and 47 other cases in a special court in Rae Bareli, and case against unknown 'kar sewaks'. Steps will be taken to expedite the hearing of these cases, it said. 

The ATR, however, rejected as not practical the recommendation of the Commission that the National Integration Council be conferred statutory powers and its members should be barred from holding any Constitutional office or Office of Profit or Public Office or from participation in any political activity. 

The Commission suggested the desirability of establishing a Criminal Justice Commission which would comprehensively monitor the performance of all law enforcement agencies and apply corrective measure wherever needed. 

The government said Law Commission will be requested to study the desirability of establishing a Criminal Justice Commission. 

Another recommendation made by the Commission relates to the need to deal firmly with the threat from communal violence. 

It said specialised investigating squads need to be formed under the state criminal investigation agencies and communal offences or crimes committed during riots should be vigorously investigated. 

Government should not be able to withdraw charges relating to communal riots, it said. 

The ATR said the government accepted the recommendation and one of the measures in the Communal Violence Bill contemplates the setting up of special courts.

The Liberhan Commission has recommended to the government to examine the desirability of establishing a Criminal Justice Commission.

The Commission which went into the demolition of the Babri Masjid said such a panel should comprehensively monitor the performance of all law enforcement agencies and apply corrective measures wherever needed.

 In its Action Taken Report (ATR), the government said the Law Commission of India will be requested to study the desirability of establishing such a panel.

The Liberhan Commission also said threat from communal violence needed to be dealt with firmly.

"Specialised investigating squads need to be formed under the state criminal investigation agencies and communal offences or crimes committed during communal riots ought to be vigorously investigated," the Commission has recommended.

Besides, it wanted the governments should not be able to withdraw charges relating to communal riots.

Accepting the recommendations, the government said one of the measures contemplated was the Communal Violence (Prevention, Control and Rehabilitation of Victims) Bill. The bill contemplates setting up of special courts.

Besides, the government detailed in the ATR the status of three cases regarding the Babri Masjid demolition. It said one case against lakhs of unknown karsevaks was on in a special court in Lucknow while another case against eight accused was in progress in special court of Rai Bareli. PTI

 
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