Nariman said he agreed that the "majority government at the Centre" had done nothing to stop the recent repeated tirades by individuals or groups against members of minority communities.
The eminent constitutional expert delivered the Annual Lecture at the National Commission for Minorities (NCM), titled ‘Minorities at Crossroads: Comments on Judicial Pronouncements'.
Nariman, who began the lecture by saying that he welcomed the single-party majority government at the Centre but also feared it because of "past experience with majoritarian government(s)", said Hinduism has traditionally been the most tolerant of all Indian faiths.
"But - recurrent instances of religious tension fanned by fanaticism and hate speech has shown that the Hindu tradition of tolerance is showing signs of strain. And let me say this frankly - my apprehension is that Hinduism is somehow changing its benign face because, and only because it is believed and proudly proclaimed by a few (and not contradicted by those at the top): that it is because of their faith and belief that HINDUS have been now put in the driving seat of governance," he said.
"We have been hearing on television and reading in newspapers almost on a daily basis a tirade by one or more individuals or groups against one or another section of citizens who belong to a religious minority and the criticism has been that the majority government at the Centre has done nothing to stop this tirade," Nariman said.
BJP MP Yogi Adityanath has delivered a series of speeches at election meetings in the recent past, for which the Election Commission reprimanded and cautioned him on Thursday, and ordered that an FIR be registered against him. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has described India as a "Hindu nation", and several political leaders linked to the Sangh Parivar have made allegedly provocative statements since the Narendra Modi government came to power.
Nariman criticised the NCM for not carrying out its "main task", the "protection of the interests of the minorities".
"Every government...will do or not do whatever it considers expedient to advance its own political interests... This is why...Parliament has...set up an independent Minorities Commission...
"...The main task of the Commission is ‘protecting the interests of minorities'. And how does one protect the interest of minorities who (or a section of which) are on a daily basis lampooned and ridiculed or spoken against in derogatory language? The answer is by invoking continued.