Friday, 7 December 2007

Indian judge summons Hindu gods to court

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The Hindu gods Ram and Hanuman have been summoned by a judge to help resolve a property dispute in Jharkhand, India.

The case concerns a 20-year long dispute over 1.4 acres of land that houses two Hindu temples. Local residents say the land belongs to Ram and Hanuman, while the temple priest Manmohan Pathak claims it belongs to him.

Having sent out summons by post to no avail, Judge Sunil Kumar Singh placed adverts in local newspapers, telling the gods "You failed to appear in court despite notices sent by a peon and later through registered post. You are hereby directed to appear before the court personally".

Although they are presumably risking legal consequences, the deities are yet to respond to the summons. Nevertheless, local lawyer Bijan Rawani defended the decision to order Ram and Hanuman to appear in court: "Since the land has been donated to the gods, it is necessary to make them a party to the case".

4 comments:

N 'Man O' Rage' R said...

I think this is quite an important move, especially in an extremely diverse country like India. If handled properly and objectively this can set the precedent for further litigation against Churches/Mosques/Temples etc holding the 'Gods' and their representatives liable for their actions. It would be instrumental in breaking the barrier of 'reverence' that religion holds so closely to its chest.

This was also argued in the parody 'The Man who sued God' by Billy Conelly. The end was a bit of a cop out though....

Keep up the good work!
N 'Man O'Rage' R
http://novemberromeo.spaces.live.com

Paul Sims said...

It's not dissimilar to a story I blogged back in September about a state senator in Nebraska suing God for "terrorist threats". He was doing it to highlight the absurd fact that state law there allows lawsuits to be filed for any reason.
http://blog.newhumanist.org.uk/2007/09/senator-who-sued-god.html

SilverTiger said...

It's an interesting move and I suspect that we will see more and more of these as sceptical judges seek to elucidate arguments of the "God gave us this land" type.

The question, of course, is this: What happens if some being purporting to be Ram or Hanuman does in fact present him- or itself before the court? Does the Indian judicial system have some way of verifying, firstly, that the being is indeed a god and, secondly, that it is the god in question? Should the god swear on his own name?

If that seems fanciful, consider someone turning up and claiming to be an avatar of Ram. India does has a long tradition of avatars, gods appearing in human form, and I wonder how the court would go about verifying such a claim.

bassman said...

i like it..could do away with HIP when selling your house...any dispute over the planning permission for that 90's extension and you get the 'Gods' in...could be a window opp for estate agents.