The Supreme Court of India on September 28, 2018, gave its decision in the Sabarimala Case. The judgement of the court cited a paper titled, “Freedom of Religion in India: Current Issues and Supreme Court acting as a Clergy” authored by Jagteshwar Singh Sohi (Class of 2009) along with Professor Mustafa. Justice D. Y. Chadrachud, while writing one of the majority opinions agreed with the position taken by Prof. Mustafa and Jagteshwar Singh Sohi in their paper. In this paper, they argued that though the Indian Constitution guarantees freedom of religion and acknowledges the individual’s autonomy in his or her relationship with God, the Supreme Court of India, through the creation and continued use of the Essentiality Test, has tried to reform religion by restricting the scope of this freedom. The paper opines that the judiciary takes over the role of the clergy in determining what are or are not essential religious practices. It further outlines that the test has been applied in an inconsistent manner with the court repeatedly changing the method of determining essentiality which results in undermining religious liberty. The authors of the paper encouraged the court to instead rely on the relationship between various fundamental rights/freedoms or other legal devices to outlaw practices which are not in tune with the modern world.
To read to the whole paper, click on this link- Freedom of Religion in India: Current Issues and Supreme Court Acting as Clergy
Jagteshwar Singh Sohi’s Interview with the Blue Pencil can be found here- Jagteshwar Singh Sohi (Class of 2009) on moots, a career in teaching and AIL’s predicament
The whole judgement can be found here: Full Judgement