Asia

Court: Indian candidates can't use faith, caste to get votes

An Indian woman sweeps a pavement past a wall covered with posters of Hindu Gods in Gauhati, India, Monday, Jan. 2, 2017. India's top court on Monday ruled that election candidates cannot use religion or caste to seek votes, describing them as corrupt practices under electoral laws. India has a Hindu-nationalist government, and most political parties select candidates in various districts based on caste and religious considerations to influence voting. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)

An Indian woman sweeps a pavement past a wall covered with posters of Hindu Gods in Gauhati, India, Monday, Jan. 2, 2017. India's top court on Monday ruled that election candidates cannot use religion or caste to seek votes, describing them as corrupt practices under electoral laws. India has a Hindu-nationalist government, and most political parties select candidates in various districts based on caste and religious considerations to influence voting. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)  (The Associated Press)

India's top court has ruled that election candidates cannot use religion or caste to seek votes, describing them as corrupt practices under electoral laws.

India has a Hindu-nationalist government, and most political parties select candidates in various districts based on caste and religious considerations.

The ruling on Monday is considered significant as it comes months before elections in Uttar Pradesh state where dominant campaign issues are caste affiliations and the building of a Hindu temple in place of a 16th century mosque demolished by Hindu hardliners.

Legislature elections are also due in Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur states.

Hindus constitute nearly 80 percent of India's 1.25 billion people, while Muslims comprise 14.2 percent and the remaining 6 percent adhere to other religions, such as Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism.