The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea seeking direction to the Central government to appoint a renaming commission to rechristen cities and places named after foreign invaders.
A bench of Justices K.M. Joseph and B.V. Nagarathna also observed that there is no bigotry in Hinduism as it told petitioner-advocate Ashwini Upadhyay: "Don't dig up the past which will only create disharmony... Can't have the country on the boil."
"What are you trying to achieve by all this... see our country has so many other problems to attend to and you want the Home Ministry to constitute a renaming commission, to go on renaming places and roads in the country... it is a historical fact that this country has been invaded..." it added.
During the hearing, the bench stressed that India is a secular country and the history of the past cannot be allowed to haunt the present generation. "India is a secular country, this is a secular forum. We are supposed to protect the Constitution and all sections," it said.
As Upadhyay argued that it is a matter of dignity for Indians, Justice Joseph replied: "You are revisiting the past selectively and India today, after the adoption of the Constitution, is a secular country and you are pointing fingers at a particular community and you call them barbaric...".
"You run down a certain section of the community which is completely against secularism, India is secular and this is a secular forum."
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Justice Nagarathna said: "Hinduism is a way of life and it is not really a religion and because Hinduism is a way of life, India has assimilated everybody, whether an invader or a friend... and because of that we are able to live together... the divide and rule started only with the Britishers and that has brought about the chasm in the society..."
She emphasised that let us not break it up again by such kind of petitions.
Justice Joseph said: "Your concern is about the past. You want to dig it up and place it on the plate of the present generation... to look at what had happened in the past and re-agitate things which should be buried. Don't bring disharmony into the society."
The petitioner sought a direction to the Union Home Ministry to set up a "renaming commission" to find out original names of ancient historical cultural religious places, called after "foreign invaders".
Citing the importance of renaming, the plea argued that it is necessary in order to maintain sovereignty and to secure a right to dignity, right to religion and right to culture guaranteed under Articles 21, 25 and 29 of the Constitution.
The petitioner cited several examples of hundreds of such cities, and places, and sought a direction to the Archaeological Survey of India to research and publish the initial names of ancient historical cultural religious places.
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