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It is constitutionally valid for legislators to take the oath of office and secrecy ‘in the name of Allah’, the Supreme Court has ruled, dismissing a petition challenging the same.

A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice R V Raveendran said, “Allah is an Arabic word. Translated into English, it means God and the Constitution permits one taking oath in the name of God”.

The court said that the swearing-in ceremony of the legislators ‘in the name of Allah’ do not amount to infraction of the Constitution. “If somebody is unable to read English the oath is translated in a language s/he understand. Then will it be infraction of the Constitution,” the apex court asked.

“Allah is an Arabic word for God so what is the problem,” court observed declining to entertain the petition.

Madhu Parumala, vice-president of the Kerala unit of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha had challenged the legality of the oath taken by some MLAs of the Kerala assembly ‘in the name of Allah’.

Petitioner’s counsel submitted that as Allah has been derived from the Arabic word, such oath was invalid.

The petitioner had said that taking the oath in the name of Allah was violative of Article 188 and third Schedule of the Constitution under which a member of the legislature or Parliament has to swear only in the name of God or solemnly affirm.

When Madhu’s counsel said oath by the MLAs in the name of Allah were taken for publicity, the Bench shot back “by filing such petition you are seeking publicity”.

Some MLAs of the Indian Union Muslim League, Indian National League and Congress had reportedly taken the oath in the name of Allah on May 24, 2006. It was upheld by the Kerala High Court which was challenged in the apex court.

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