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‘Sanatan Dharma’ remark: SC tags fresh plea with pending case against Udhayanidhi Stalin

The bench said it will not issue notice on the plea and tag it along with the pending petition. "We have not issued notice. Let it be tagged. We will see on that day," the bench said.

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Udhayanidhi Stalin, Tamil Nadu, TN, Sanatan Dharma

The Supreme Court on Wednesday tagged a plea of a Delhi-based lawyer seeking an FIR against Tamil Nadu Minister and DMK leader Udhayanidhi Stalin and MP A Raja for their remarks calling for the eradication of ‘Sanatan Dharma’, along with similar pending plea. A bench headed by Justice Aniruddha Bose did not issue notice on the plea but tagged it along with a similar plea filed by a Chennai-based lawyer in which the apex court last week issued notice.

Additional Advocate General of the Tamil Nadu government opposed the plea saying these petitions are ‘publicity interest litigations’. There are 40 writ petitions filed across the country in different High Courts for publicity, which makes it incredibly difficult for the State.

“Everyone filing PILs for publicity, they will go to the media and circulate these,” the bench said. The bench said it will not issue notice on the plea and tag it along with the pending petition. “We have not issued notice. Let it be tagged. We will see on that day,” the bench said.

The apex court was hearing an application filed by advocate Vineet Jindal also seeking contempt of court action against Delhi and Chennai police for not registering suo motu FIR for hate speech in terms of the Supreme Court’s earlier order. The application was filed in an already pending case of hate speech and sought registration of an FIR against Stalin and Rajya Sabha MP A Raja for their act of outraging religious feelings, insulting the followers of the Hindu religion and instigating enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion.

The lawyer said he is a follower of Sanatan Dharma and he watched a video statement of Stalin and its translation on social media and news reports in which Stalin spoke at an event called ‘Sanatan Abolition Conference’. “The applicant, being a Hindu and Sanatan Dharma follower, his religious sentiments are hurt by statements made by Udhayanidhi Stalin calling for eradicating Sanatan Dharma and further comparing Sanatan with mosquitoes, dengue, corona, and malaria. His words show his hate towards Sanatan Dharma. He is an MLA and Minister in the Tamil Nadu government and has taken an oath to work as per the constitution of our country and must respect all the regions but he intentionally made a provocative and defamatory statement for the Sanatan Dharma with the intent to promote enmity between groups on the grounds of religion,” the application stated.

Aggrieved by the hate speech made by Stalin, the lawyer made a complaint to Delhi police for registration of FIR under sections 153A & B, 295A, 298 and 505 but the police are yet to register the FIR. The Supreme Court in its order dated April 28 directing all States and Union Territories (UT) to register suo motu FIRs in hate speech offences without any complaint being filed. “Action be taken irrespective of the religion of the maker of the speech so that the secular character of India as envisaged by the Preamble is preserved,” the application added.

On September 5, 262 eminent citizens including former High Court judges and bureaucrats wrote to the Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud urging him to take note of Stalin’s hate speech calling for the eradication of ‘Sanatan Dharma’. They wrote a letter to the CJI stating that the Supreme Court had directed the governments and police authorities to take suo motu action in hate speech cases without waiting for the lodging of formal complaints.

On September 2, while likening Sanatan Dharma to the coronavirus, malaria, and dengue, Udhayanidhi Stalin, the son of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin said that such things should not be opposed but destroyed. Remarks of DMK leader Udhayanidhi Stalin had triggered a massive political controversy across the country.

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