Indian Supreme Court Says Sikhs, Jains Part of Broader Hindu Religion

August 10, 2005

Source: The Tribune

On August 10, 2005 The Tribune reported, "In a significant ruling defining the status of communities like Sikhs and Jains within the Constitutional frame work, the Supreme Court has declined to treat them as separate minority communities from the broad Hindu religion, saying encouraging such tendencies would pose [a] serious jolt to secularism and democracy in the country... The court said in various codified customary laws like the Hindu Marriage Act, the Hindu Succession Act, the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act and other laws of pre and post-Constitution period, definition of 'Hindu' included all sects, sub-sects of Hindu religion, including Sikhs and Jains. It said if the argument for recognising every religious group within the broad Hindu religion as separate religious minority was accepted and such tendencies were encouraged, 'the whole country, which is already under class and social conflicts due to various divisive forces, will further face divisions on the basis of religious diversities. Such claims to minority status based on religion would increase in the fond hope of various sections of people getting special protections, privileges and treatment as part of constitutional guarantee,' the court said adding 'a claim by one group of citizens would lead to a similar claim by another group and conflict and strife would ensue.'"