Thursday, 17 June 2010

Singh v Singh

The case of Singh v Singh [2010] EWHC 1294 (QB) is worth a read because it deals with the issue of where the Courts draw the line in becoming involved in issues of religious belief. Mr Hardeep Singh (Defendant) had written an article in the Sikh Times questioning the religious validity etc of His Holiness Sant Baba Jeet Singh Ji Maharaj (Claimant), accusing him of being the leader of a Cult a Blasphemer and of engaging in religious practices which were incompatible with Sikhism. In response Jeet Singh sued Hardeep Singh for Libel.

The Judgment sets out both the particulars of claim and the defence and it is clear from them that any trial would involve an argument about the exact beliefs of Sikhism. For that reason Mr Justice Eady decided that the issues in the case
"cannot be isolated and resolved without reference to Sikh doctrines and traditions" and for that reason the case had to be stopped because Secular Courts cannot decide religious issues.

Interestingly enough the case seems to run counter to another recent case where Dr Taj Hargey of the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford brought a claim for libel HERE and HERE against the Muslim Weekly which had accused him of being an Ahmadiyya Muslim (NB Other Muslims do not consider the Ahmadiyya to be Muslims and in Pakistan it is illegal for Ahmadiyya to call themselves Muslim or to call their places of worship Mosques).

Of course the case was settled before coming to trial but nevertheless it does seem that nobody in the Muslim Weekly's legal team thought to argue that the entire issue was outside the jurisdiction of the Secular Courts.

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