Judges and the solicitor general reiterated that astrology is science.
Oh yes, the Sengol is very much a part of our Parliament now, but the Supreme Court is still unconvinced that Mars can play a role in courts deciding bail pleas. That is perhaps why it took suo motu cognisance of reports of the Allahabad high court asking the head of the department of astrology in Lucknow University to decide whether a woman, an alleged rape victim, is “manglik” or not so. The judges who sat for a special sitting on a Saturday even observed that they did not understand why the astrology report is called for while hearing a bail application of a man accused of raping the woman on the false promise of marriage.
Unlike the high court judge, the judges in the apex were unmoved by the man’s plea that he did not marry the woman because she was manglik, or affected by the influence of Mars as per her horoscope, and stayed the high court order, directing the lower court to hear the bail application based on the Indian law.
While the intervention is welcome, it will be a matter of cold comfort that the judges and the solicitor general reiterated that astrology is science. And the advocate, appearing for the complainant, said the manglik test was ordered by the court on the consent of both the parties!
It was not long ago the Supreme Court, on a forceful plea by civil society and women’s organisations, intervened in an order of the Madhya Pradesh high court which put the condition that the alleged rapist tie a rakhi on the victim to get bail and ordered that bail conditions and orders should not reflect stereotypical patriarchal notions about women and their place in society. The court even issued detailed guidelines to follow while hearing sex-related crimes.
It’s not the judges’ job to put people’s faith to the test of logic, but they, too, should refrain from using standards other than the law. Any such departure can prove costly in a multicultural and multi-religious society.