Present & Future Of Country Cannot Remain Prisoner Of Past: SC Dismisses Plea Seeking Renaming Of Places Named After 'Barbaric Foreign Invaders' [Read Judgment]
The Supreme Court has recently dismissed a plea filed by the petitioner Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay seeking the renaming of the ancient, historical, cultural, and religious places that are named after ‘barbaric foreign invaders’.
The Court said that the present and future of a country cannot remain a prisoner of the past and that the history of any nation cannot haunt the future generations of a nation to the point that succeeding generations become prisoners of the past.
The two-Judge Bench comprising Justice K.M. Joseph and Justice B.V. Nagarathna held, “The present and future of a country cannot remain a prisoner of the past. The governance of Bharat must conform to Rule of law, secularism, constitutionalism of which Article 14 stands out as the guarantee of both equality and fairness in the State’s action. … the history of any nation cannot haunt the future generations of a nation to the point that succeeding generations become prisoners of the past.”
The Bench observed that the questions of law raised by the petitioner do not arise.
“The founding fathers contemplated India to be a republic which is not merely to be conflated to a body polity having an elected President which is the conventional understanding. But it also involves ensuring rights to all sections of people based on it being a democracy”, said the Court.
The petitioner earlier in February, this year, filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) before the Supreme Court to constitute a "Renaming Commission" for finding out the original names of Ancient Historical, Cultural, and Religious Places named after "Barbaric Foreign Invaders" in order to maintain sovereignty and to secure the right to dignity, right to religion, and right to culture.
The petitioner sought direction from the Apex Court to the Home Ministry to constitute a "Renaming Commission" as well as the Archaeological Survey of India to research and publish the initial names of the ancient historical cultural religious places. It was also prayed in the petition to direct the Centre and State Governments to update their websites and records and mention the original names of ancient historical cultural religious places.
The Supreme Court in view of the above prayer noted, “It is important that the country must move forward. For achieving the sublime goals which are enshrined in Part IV – that is the Directive Principles, but bearing in mind the fundamental rights also guaranteed in Part III of the Constitution, which have been described as the two wheels of the chariot of the State, both of which are indispensable, for the smooth progress of the nation, actions must be taken which bond all sections of the society together.”
The Court asserted that the courts of law, as indeed every part of the ‘State’, must be guided by the sublime realisation, that Bharat is a secular nation committed to securing fundamental rights to all sections as contemplated in the Constitution.
“The golden principle of fraternity which again is enshrined in the preamble is of the greatest importance and rightfully finds its place in the preamble as a constant reminder to all stakeholders that maintenance of harmony between different sections alone will lead to the imbibing of a true notion of nationhood bonding sections together for the greater good of the nation and finally, establish a sovereign democratic republic”, said the Court.
The Court held that the reliefs sought by the petitioner should not be granted by the Court acting as the guardian of fundamental rights of all under Article 32 of the Constitution bearing in mind the values which a Court must keep uppermost in its mind and that the preamble gives a clear light in such direction.
Accordingly, the Apex Court dismissed the plea.
Cause Title- Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v. Union of India & Ors.