PIL in Delhi HC to differentiate between dharma and religion in govt records
New Delhi: BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay has submitted a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) to the Delhi High Court, urging the court to make a clear distinction between the terms “dharma” and “religion.”
The PIL also calls for directions to the Central and Delhi Governments to include a chapter on this subject in the curriculum of primary and secondary schools.
The objective of this initiative, according to Upadhyay, is to educate the masses and combat religion-based hatred and hate speeches.
Upadhyay’s plea insists that “dharma” and “religion” have different meanings, and it’s crucial to recognise this difference.
Additionally, the PIL seeks directions for the Union and Delhi Governments to use the proper definition of religion, as per Upadhyay’s interpretation, which equates “religion” to “panth or sampradaya” and not “dharma.”
This request pertains to government documents such as birth certificates, Aadhaar cards, driving licences, bank accounts, and birth and death certificates.
“Petitioner respectfully submits that ‘dharma’ and ‘religion’ has totally different meaning but the Centre and State Government Officials and Employees not only use the term Dharma as synonym of Religion in the documents like Birth Certificate, Aadhaar card, School Certificate, Ration Card, Driving Licence, Domicile Certificate, Death Certificate and Bank Account etc but also in their verbal and written communication,” the plea reads.
Upadhyay argues that dharma is distinct from religion, describing it as an “ordering principle” that operates independently of one’s faith or methods of worship.
It provides freedom in ethical norms and represents an “eternal journey from being to becoming.”
He says that dharma encourages tolerance and plurality and doesn’t align with the concept of “conversion” that was introduced from outside India with the arrival of Christians and Muslims.
The PIL says, “No one ever forced anything on anyone. The concept of ‘conversion’ came to India from outside as Christians and Muslims arrived.”
Furthermore, the plea highlights the differences in the evolution of “secular Western democracies” and Islamic societies, suggesting that the latter remain influenced by the clergy class, leading to certain undesirable outcomes.
The plea raises concerns about the misuse of “workless” petrodollars in the hands of Wahhabi/Deobandi mullahs, potentially contributing to a cult of violence and terrorism.
“The Islamic societies, on the other hand, continue to remain stifled by insane dictates of the clergy class for good reasons. The mullah has become even more powerful than Mohammad or Allah and turned the “religion of peace” into a cult of violence and terrorism. This is what happens when insane amount of “workless” petrodollars fall in unworthy hands of cocky Wahhabi/Deobandi mullahs devoid of slightest sense of morality,” the plea says.