“I may not agree with what you say, but I shall defend until death your right to say it” is one of the most profound arguments for freedom of speech and expression. This quote has never been more relevant than under current circumstances when a series of Islamic terror attacks in France has reignited the debate between freedom of speech and blasphemy. These attacks were a response to an offensive depiction of Prophet Mohammad by a satirical magazine. The recent terror attacks and the freedom of expression and religion followed in France have spilled over to the international arena, with several Muslim majority countries like Turkey, Pakistan, Malaysia and others criticising French President Macron’s strategy to reform Islam in France in accordance with its constitutional principles.
The Supreme Court, recently, reversed the Kerala High Court judgment of 2011 in the Padmanabha Swamy temple case and upheld the right of the Travancore Royal Family to manage the property of deity at Shree Padmanabha Swamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram. This is another historic apex court judgment with respect to the debate of legal-constitutional-state interference in the religious sphere after the Sabarimala Case.
India is a land where people of all the major religions of the world find a peaceful home. The ancient ethos and modern philosophy of India have Secularism as its inalienable part. The idea of secularism makes India a multicultural society. Religion, though a very important part of human life, has its own share of problems associated with it. Secularism addresses those problems in a very effective manner.
The Supreme Court had given the much-awaited verdict on the Ram Janmabhoomi – Babri Masjid land dispute case. Though this verdict, the Apex court cleared the way for the construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site at Ayodhya and directed the Centre to allot a 5-acre of land to the Sunni Waqf Board for building a mosque. It is one of the most important and most anticipated judgements in India’s history. The Constitutional Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi put an end to the more than a century-old dispute that has torn the social fabric of the nation.
The Law Commission of India has said that a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is “neither necessary nor desirable at this stage”. In this regard, enacting justified laws is more desirable than changing personal laws for bringing in ‘uniformity’.