The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a petition seeking a direction for a declaration that Jharkhand Governor Syed Ahmad was “not fit to hold the post” as he took oath in the name of “Allah” instead of “god or Eshwar” as provided for under the Constitution.

A Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and S.J. Mukhopadhaya initially imposed a Rs.5-lakh fine on petitioner Kamal Nayan Prabhakar, a student, but later pruned it to Rs.1 lakh after counsel Mithilesh Kumar Singh pleaded that the amount be reduced to a token Rs.5,000.

“Your client has come with a sinister motive. He has tried to draw a comparison with the Constitution of Pakistan. World over in the mythology, god is described as formless. Why do you want to confine him to a name or image? It is very sickening,” the Bench said.

The Jharkhand High Court had earlier dismissed Mr. Prabhakar's petition following which he appealed in the Supreme Court.

According to the petition, in the swearing-in ceremony held on September 4, 2011 at the Raj Bhavan, Mr. Ahmad took the oath saying “Allah Ke Naam Par” and “thereby the substantive part of the form of oath has not been properly followed and the oath taken by respondent No 3 [Governor] is vitiated.”

The petition says, under Article 159 of the Constitution, the Governor or other constitutional authorities can take oath only in the name of “god or Eshwar” or he/she may “solemnly affirm.”

The petitioner submitted that if the trend goes on, it might encourage others to use their choice of personal deities like Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Hanuman, Ganesh, and Christ at the time of taking oath.

Danger of new trend

“A new trend will emerge and will be continued whereby the Governor or any other dignitary of high post having faith in different religions would start taking oath in the name of different gods/spirits according to their beliefs and then there would not be proper following of forms of oaths which may lead to a Constitutional crisis,” the petitioner said.