Fight the Future? (#13 OF ??) aka Naming God in a lawsuit?

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/04/11 16:04 -04:00, original URI:

Content of Michael Kaplan's personal blog not approved by Microsoft (see disclaimer)!
Regular readers should keep in mind that all I said in The End? still applies; the allusion to the X-Files continues for people who understand such references....

Speaking of matters of deity....

I don't know how many of you across the interesting item where the Hindu Gods Lord Hanuman and Lord Ram were named in a lawsuit and required to appear (unsurprisingly a local temple housing idol forms of the Gods did not accept the summons, since of course Hindu Gods do not answer to their temples. :-)

You can read about it in "news of the weird" style all over from late last year:

 and many others.

They are all reporting it with their straight man faces on but are clearly having fun with it, but it is amusing in the end.

The lawyers contend that if the Gods are a party in the case, they should appear before the court. "It is the property of the Gods’. The land has been donated to the Gods’.

Therefore, it is necessary to make the Gods’ a party in it. The relief in this case has been asked in the name of the Gods’,” said Bijan Rawani, an advocate.

“The defense is saying that the land was donated to the Gods’. Therefore, the Gods’ should be named the owners. The suit will not be complete until the Gods’ are made a party," Rawani added. The summons issued to the two Gods’ was sent to a temple housing their idols. The temple is built on encroached land.

Clearly this seems aimed at making a point more than an expectation that either Ram or Hanuman would appear -- you can't change temporal mundane matters and elevate them to a mystical plane by trying to grant divine ownership this way.

Though imagine if nun who was pregnant could sue for divorce and expect alimony based on the "deadbeat dad" nature of a God who couldn't be bothered to make court appearances. They couldn't even mandate paternity tests since there is no divine DNA sample to compare with? You could see how quickly this could get out of hand if courts didn't throw it out.

I vaguely recall an old Law & Order episode with Jill Clayburgh as a lawyer who tried to enjoin the archdiocese in an annulment case, but I don't think that in this country it would be easy to have the Almighty named as a party to a lawsuit (even naming a church can often be an uphill battle).

I wonder how the lawsuit is doing in Sunil Kumar Singh's court. Though I do love the notice put in the papers:

"You failed to appear in court despite notices sent by a messenger and later through registered post. You are hereby directed to appear before the court personally," Judge Singh's notice stated.

The newspaper notices were published, in keeping with accepted Indian legal practice, after two summons dispatched to the plaintiff deities were returned because their addresses were "incomplete".

Anyone know how the lawsuit is going? If Ram does show up, I suspect that Surpanakha may want to have a word with him and his brother. :-)


No Unicode characters cold be reached for comment...

sam i am on 11 Apr 2008 5:24 PM:

if ram doesn't show up, it is a god showing contempt of court.

yet the summons is court showing contempt of a god.

you can't win here!!!

Michael S. Kaplan on 11 Apr 2008 5:36 PM:

Hey Samantha,

I wish I had thought of that one -- I probably could have crafted a title out it somehow!

Hope Southern CA is treating you well!

John Cowan on 11 Apr 2008 7:23 PM:

In Islamic law, God can be a property owner (see the Wikipedia article on waqf), and older English law provided for a related concept called frankalmoin, whereby a feudal lord made "God and St. X" his tenant of a particular piece of land, usually in exchange for having prayers said for the lord's soul at the church or monastery of St. X, usually but not always on the land.

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