From the Viewsroom

This is not ‘The Manifesto’

Poornima Joshi | Updated on July 20, 2021

NEW DELHI, 09/04/2013: Supreme Court of India in New Delhi on April 10, 2013. Photo: S. Subramanium   -  S_Subramanium

Apex court frowns at Kerala govt’s ‘populist measures’ for Bakrid

In his introduction to A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, Karl Marx describes religious suffering as the expression of real suffering. “Religion,” said Marx famously, “is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the masses.”

The Kerala government, apparently, had a more contemporary interpretation of Marx’s philosophical constructs. Bakrid on Wednesday was understood to be a panacea for the suffering of the local traders for whom they decided to relax Covid-19 lockdown for three days before the festival.

“The traders were suffering,” contended the CPI(M)-led government while defending this egregious decision in the Apex Court. “The traders were expecting that the Bakrid sales will alleviate their misery to a certain extent,” the State government told the Court which is hearing a plea challenging the relaxation in lockdown norms because the test positivity rate in Kerala is over 10 per cent.

Sadly for the State government, the interpretation has not gone down well with the Apex Court which has shown a welcome firmness in dealing with religious congregations of all kinds. The Court put a stop to the Kanwar Yatra, a religious journey of Shiva worshippers during the Hindu month of Shravan. The Court forced the UP government to use its influence over the religious bodies to postpone the pilgrimage on account of Covid-19. And the judges were in no mood to entertain yet another congregation, this time on account of Bakrid. “This is a breakdown of Constitutional machinery. The shops are saying that they will open despite directions. Just see the affidavit. These are populist measures,” said the Court, slamming the Kerala government. Perhaps the judges have understood the Critique of Hegel’s philosophy better than the comrades in Kerala.

Published on July 20, 2021

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