Hindu Vivek Kendra
«« Back
Courts on Government servant's participation in RSS

Courts on Government servant's participation in RSS

Alok Kumar
March 12, 2000
Title: Courts on Government servant's participation in RSS
Author: Alok Kumar
Publication: Organiser
Date: March 12, 2000

On November 26, 1949 the people of India solemnly resolved to constitute India into a democratic state and to secure to all its citizens, liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship.  This finds a poetic expression in the Preamble of the Constitution of India.

The recognition of the inherent dignity and of inalienable rights of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the society.  Every individual, by virtue of his being human possesses certain basic and inalienable rights which are commonly known as Human Rights.  The Constitution identified such rights as fundamental, incorporated them in Part III of the Constitution and guaranteed them to all citizens of India.

The Fundamental Rights are considered as a part of the basic structure of the Constitution and Part III can not be abrogated by any organ of the State, be it the Legislature, Executive or Judiciary.

 The fundamental freedoms are specified in Article 19 of the Constitution.  They include the right to freedom of speech and expression.  To make this right effective, the right to assemble peacefully and without arms has been made a fundamental freedom and to channelise and assert the said two freedoms, Article 19(1)(c) grants to all citizens of India the right to form associations and unions.  However, the State can impose reasonable restrictions on the exercise of these rights in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India or public order or morality.

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is admittedly a lawful organisation.  It is a socio-cultural institution.  The RSS is not a political party.  Its office bearers cannot accept any office in any political party.

It is a nationwide organisation.  To achieve its objects RSS holds its shakhas.  It is generally known that members of RSS called swayamsevaks are committed, dedicated and put in supreme efforts in the mission assigned to them.

The following are the objects of RSS as enshrined in its constitution.

(a) To eradicate the fissiparous tendencies arising from diversities of sect, faith, caste and creed and from political, economic, linguistic and provincial differences, amongst Hindus;

(b) To make them realise the greatness of their past;

(c) To inculcate in them a spirit of service, sacrifice and selfless devotion to the society;

(d) To build up an organised and well-disciplined corporate life and

(e) To bring about an all-round regeneration of the Hindu samaj on the basis of its dharma and its samskriti.

The aims and objects of the RSS are to organise and weld various diverse groups within the Hindu samaj and to revitalise and rejuvenate the same on the basis of its dharma and samskriti, so that it may achieve an all-sided development of Bharatvarsha.

Article 4 (c) of the constitution of RSS specifically states that the Sangh is aloof from politics and is devoted to social and cultural fields only.  However, the swayamsevaks are free, as individuals to join any party, institution or front, political or otherwise, except such parties, institutions or fronts which subscribe to or believe in extra national loyalities or resort to violent and/or secret activities to achieve their ends, or which promote or attempt or have the object of promoting any feeling of enmity or hatred towards any other community or creed or religious denomination.  Persons owing allegiance to the above mentioned undesirable elements and methods of working shall have no place in the Sangh.

Unfortuantely, this satvik shakti of RSS has been conceived as a threat to the political hegemony in the state power by the Congress (I) party and other political parties from time to time.

This started in the very first year of Independence when the revered Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by a group of misguided persons.  The Congress Government took advantage of the murder, whipped up an antil RSS frenzy and banned it.  The Government knew well that RSS had no hand in the murder of the Mahatma.  Even the Home Minister Sardar Patel admitted and emphasized in his letter (dt.  27-2-1948) to the then Prime Minister:-

"It also clearly emerges from these statements that RSS was not involved in at all."

And yet they banned the RSS and tried to continue with it.  Ironically, the very persons who abided by Gandhi, immediately on coming to power, murdered the pursuance of Truth, a mission Gandhiji had pursued all his life.

The ban was lifted after the RSS launched a mighty country wide satyagraha.

In 1975 Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was declared guilty of corrupt practices and her election to the Lok Sabha was set aside by the Allahabad High Court.  Also her party lost the elections in Gujarat.  She out of her feeling of a sinking ship imposed Emergency on the country.  The Fundamental Rights were suspended.  The RSS was banned again.

And yet again the RSS resisted the ban.  Its members campaigned against the Congress Party in the General Elections of 1977.  The Congress Party lost the elections.  Smt Indira Gandhi and her son, Sanjay Gandhi were also defeated.  The ban on RSS was lifted.

December 6, 1992, after the disputed structure at Ayodhya was demolished, RSS was banned, yet again.  Under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention Act) 1967 the Central Government referred the notification of the ban to the Tribunal presided over by Shri P.K.  Bahri, a sitting judge of the Delhi High Court.  After a marathon trial, the judgement came on June 18, 1993.

The Government had accused that "RSS Swayamsevaks had participated in the demolition of the structure commonly known as Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid, situated at Ayodhya".

The Government could not establish this before the Tribunal.  The Tribunal also found: "No other particulars or facts have been given against RSS nor any evidence or material in support of grounds mentioned in the ban notification have been given." The Tribunal cancelled the Notification banning the RSS.

Efforts to restrict Government employees from joining RSS

The Governments at the Centre and in the States have attempted other unholy means to contain RSS even when an outright ban was not successful.  They targeted the Government servants in the following ways:-

(a) Asking the police to verify the antecedents of the proposed entrants to Government jobs and to refuse employment if the candidate was a member of the RSS;

(b) To accuse the Government servants with subversive activities and a threat to national securities if they happen to participate, in the RSS activities and to remove them from services;

(c) To amend service rules thereby banning Government servants from participating in the RSS activities.

The attempt is undemocratic.  It strikes at freedom to form associations.  It arises out of malice and intolerance against those whom the Government perceives as opponents.  This reveals a Fascist mind-set.

And it has consistently failed in the Supreme Court, the High Courts and other courts.

The case of Shri Rama Shanker Raghuvanshi is illustrative.  He was a teacher in a school.  The school was taken over by the Government.  Raghuvanshi was absorbed in Government service subject to verification of antecedents.  The Superintendent of Police Raigarh reported that Ram Shanker Raghuvanshi had taken part in the RSS and Jansangh activities.  The Government terminated Raghuvanshi's services.

Raghuvanshi petitioned in the High Court of Madhya Pradesh.  The High Court quashed the order.  An unashamed Government came to the Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court in a scathing and anguished judgement dismissed the appeal and said:

"Neither the RSS nor the Jan Sangh is alleged to be engaged in any subversive or other illegal activity; nor are the organisations banned.  Most people, including intellectuals, may not agree with the programme and philosophy of the Jan Sangh and the RSS or, for that matter, or many other political parties and organisations of an altogether different hue.  But that is irrelevant.  Everyone is entitled to his thoughts and views.  There are no barriers.  Our Constitution guarantees that.  In fact members of these organisations continue to be members of Parliament and State Legislatures.  They are heard often with respect inside and outside the Parliament.  What then was the sin that the respondent committed in participating in some political activity before his absorption into Government service? What was wrong in his being a member of an organisation which is not even alleged to be devoted to subversive or illegal activities?"

The Supreme Court thus, dismissed the appeal of Madhya Pradesh Govternment (Petition for Special Leave to Appeal Civil No.  4679/1980)

Similarly, Ranganathacharya Agnihotri was selected for the post of Munsiff in Karnataka.  The police verification found revealed that in his past he was an organiser of RSS at Yelburga.  The Government denied him entry into its job.  He approached the High Court of Mysore at Bangalore in writ No.  588/1966.  The Court allowed the Writ Petition and the Special Leave Petition was dismissed.  The High Court held:

"Prima facie the RSS is a non-political cultural organisation without any hatred or ill will towards non-Hindus and that many eminent and respected persons in the country have not hesitated to preside over the functions or appreciate the work of its volunteers.  In a country like ours which has accepted the democratic way of life (as ensured by the Constitution), it would not be within reason to accept the proposition that mere membership of such peaceful or non-violent association and participation in activities thereof, will render a person (in whose character and antecedents there are no other defects) unsuitable to be appointed to the post of a Munsiff".

The court held that it was satisfied that the mere fact that the petitioner was member of the RSS and participating in its activities is irrelevant for purpose of determining his suitability to the post of a Munsiff.

In yet another case Chinta Mani was sub-post master at Nagpur.  He was accused of being an RSS member who had visited the RSS office on a particualr day, participated in its Sankranti Mahotsava and had attended a function of RSS.  For this he was removed from the services.  Chintamani approached the High Court at Bombay (Nagpur Bench) in Special Civil Appeal No.  22/52.  the Court held "in the case of the petitioner Chintamani, the first allegation is that he has been associated and taking active part in the activities of RSS.  Though Chintamani has denied this allegation, we may assume that the allegation is true according to the respondent.  But the RSS is not an organisation which is declared unlawful.  The allegation also does not disclose what are the activities of the RSS, participation in which or association with which is considered subversive.  To that extent the Government is extremely vague.  Unless a person is reasonably suspected of being engaged in doing something unlawful, or ex facie prejudicial to public security, it is difficult to countenance the suggestion that mere association with an institution which is neither declared as unlawful nor is alleged or shown to be indulging in any anti-social or treasonable activities or activities leading to breach of the peace, can form a foundation for action under rule 3.

These are only three illustrations.  At least 10 High Courts have examined the action taken by the Government against its employees for being members of the RSS and each time it has been quashed.

And yet the governments have not removed the unlawful restraint.  The democracy rests on the firm belief in what.  Voltaire had said in 1907- "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to death your right to say it." (quoted by Justice Krishna Iyer in the judgement reported as AIR 1977, Supreme Court, 202).

It is time that all those who believe in democracy and fundamental rights raise their voice to force the governments to amend the service rules to remove the unlawful, undemocractic, Fascist restriction on the Government servants from participating in socio-cultural associations of their choice including the RSS.

(The author is an eminent lawyer)

Back                          Top

«« Back
  Search Articles
  Special Annoucements