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Humanity Comes First, Then Religion : Meghalaya HC [Read Judgment]

Ashok KM
8 Dec 2017 6:28 AM GMT
Humanity Comes First, Then Religion : Meghalaya HC [Read Judgment]
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It is really very sad that even after one's death, we are fighting over our faith, caste and religionNo person can practice religion or become spiritual, until and unless he or she becomes a good human being because humanity comes first, then religion.Members of indigenous faith in the state of Meghalaya will soon get a place for cremating their dead, thanks to intervention of the...

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It is really very sad that even after one's death, we are fighting over our faith, caste and religion

No person can practice religion or become spiritual, until and unless he or she becomes a good human being because humanity comes first, then religion.

Members of indigenous faith in the state of Meghalaya will soon get a place for cremating their dead, thanks to intervention of the high court.

Members of indigenous faith (Seng Khasi) had approached the high court after some members of the Christian community dismantled the cremation site. They submitted before the court that till date they have not been able to construct a crematorium and at times are forced to bury their dead or they have to take the dead bodies a far distance for cremation.

The village authorities and other village people did not allow cremation to take place and the dead bodies had to be taken to some other place at considerable distance to complete the last rites,” they told the court.

Right to dispose of dead bodies in a particular manner with particular rites in consecrated places is part and parcel of a religion and is protected in the penumbra of the right to profess and practice one’s religion.”, they submitted before the court.

During the course of proceedings before the high court bench presided by Justice SR Sen, Deputy Commissioner, East Khasi Hills District, Shillong, reported that the matter has been settled between the parties amicably and a suitable site was provided for use as cremation ground.

But one clause in the above settlement agreement that the crematorium shall be used for the purpose of cremation of only the deceased members of the Seng Khasi Mylliem, attracted attention of the court, which disagreed with it and observed: “Anybody belonging to the indigenous faith and from any locality who needs to use the crematorium, can use it.”

The court also directed the Deputy Commissioner to fence the area allotted to and take other necessary steps to develop and make it properly functional within five months.  “Superintendent of Police, East Khasi Hills District, is also further directed to see that nobody disturbs the petitioner in the village and to extend assistance and help as and whenever requested. It is further directed that both the parties should maintain peace and tranquility in the locality,” the court said.

It also imposed a cost of Rs 1 lakh on some of the members of the Christian community arrayed as respondents for disrespecting the Constitution of India.

Be humans first

The judge also expressed his anguish observing that even after death, people are fighting over faith, caste and religion.

 “I am pained that even after so many years of independence, now at the 21st Century, people are not aware of the Constitution of the country where they live in and violates the Constitution…In my considered view, until and unless a person is aware of his or her duty, he or she cannot claim to enjoy the fundamental rights,” Justice Sen observed.

The judge further observed: I would like to ask today through my small judgment and order; “If the water that we drink does not ask about our faith, caste and religion; if the air that we breathe do not ask about our faith, caste and religion; and if the land where we all live do not ask about our faith, caste and religion; if the cosmos do not ask about our faith, caste and religion, then who are we to ask about others faith, caste and religion. Therefore, let the dead rest in peace.”

The judge further remarked: “It is really very sad that even after death, we are fighting over our faith, caste and religion. Do the people of this country want to say that after death, somebody will go to heaven or somebody will go to hell; nobody knows that. My humble belief is that there are not two or three Gods, God is only one. Another example I would like to put forward is that: “if the blood of a Khasi, Bengali and Nepali or any other person is mixed together, no science has established any methodology to distinguish the blood whether it belongs to a Khasi, a Bengali or a Nepali and it is an undisputed fact that the blood of all human beings is red, no matter what faith, caste or religion he or she belongs to, so why so much difference.” I think it is high time that society should wake up and literate the people of India and it is also my appeal to the society that the time has come to make the people aware about their fundamental duties, specifically, Clause “h of Article 51A which speaks about humanity. I further mention that no person can practice religion or become spiritual, until and unless he or she becomes a good human being because humanity comes first, then religion.”


Read Judgment Here

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