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Legal Another Baba Bites The Dust!

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by Aman Singh, Jun 11, 2010.

  1. Aman Singh

    Aman Singh
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    Jun 1, 2004
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    Another baba Bites The Dust

    Jeet Singh v. Eastern Media Group & Anor [2010] EWHC 1294 (QB) (17 May 2010)

    The English High Court has effectively thrown out a libel action against a journalist who claimed in an article that a baba was a "cult leader". The judge's reasoning was that the disputed points of religious principle were not questions which a secular court could properly decide.

    The decision was reported in mid-May, but Mr Justice Eady's judgment was made publically available on Tuesday, June 8, 2010. It highlights controversial issues of whether religious believers are getting a fair hearing in the English courts, and whether "secular" judges are qualified to decide points of religious principle.

    The action was brought by Jeet Singh, who lives in India, in response to an article published by Hardeep Singh, a journalist, in the UK-based Sikh Times.

    Hardeep Singh wrote that the "influence of an accused Cult leader called Jeet Singh has disturbed the peace in the Sikh community in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire", and that "Cults are by no means a new phenomenon affecting the Sikhs globally and Jeet Singh is one of several high profile accused Cultists who are causing difficulties for the community worldwide."

    Jeet Singh sued in libel in the English courts as the article was published here. It is particularly easy to bring such actions in the English courts, whether or not a claimant has any connection with the U.K.

    Hardeep Singh said that the case had ultimately cost him in excess of £90,000.

    No place for religion in the secular courts.

    Mr Justice Eady, a well known libel judge, effectively threw the action out on the basis of the principle of English law that the courts will not attempt to rule upon doctrinal issues or intervene in the regulation or governance of religious groups. He approved the comment of Mr Justice Munby in Sulaiman v Juffali [2002] 1 FLR 479, that

    Religion ... is not the business of government or of the secular courts. So the starting point of the law is an essentially agnostic view of religious beliefs and a tolerant indulgence to religious and cultural diversity. A secular judge must be wary of straying across the well-recognised divide between church and state. It is not for a judge to weigh one religion against another. All are entitled to equal respect, whether in times of peace or, as at present, amidst the clash of arms.


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