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Emory University School of Law

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Deities’ Rights?, Deepa Das Acevedo Jan 2023

Deities’ Rights?, Deepa Das Acevedo

Faculty Articles

A brief commotion arose during the hearings for one of twenty-first-century India’s most widely discussed legal disputes, when a dynamic young attorney suggested that deities, too, had constitutional rights. The suggestion was not absurd. Like a human being or a corporation, Hindu temple deities can participate in litigation, incur financial obligations, and own property. There was nothing to suggest, said the attorney, that the same deity who enjoyed many of the rights and obligations accorded to human persons could not also lay claim to some of their constitutional freedoms. The lone justice to consider this claim blandly and briefly observed …