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‘Santa Banta’ jokes under Supreme Court scanner

The “Santa Banta” jokes on Friday came under the lens of the Supreme Court which agreed to hear a PIL seeking direction to ban websites displaying cracks on Sardars and projecting them in poor light. “This (Sikh) community is known for great sense of humour and they also enjoy such jokes. You must have gone through the jokes of Khushwant Singh…

“This is only an amusement. Why do you want it to be stopped?…Prepare your case well. We will hear you” a bench comprising Justices TS Thakur and V Gopala Gowda said. The apex court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) by a woman lawyer Harvinder Chowdhary who said that there are more than 5,000 websites which display jokes on sardars projecting the members of the community in poor light.

Chowdhury has sought direction to Telecom Ministry to to filter websites which target the Sikh community as it is violative of sections 153A and 153B of the Indian Penal Code. “All the jokes relating to Sikh community should be stopped. My children are humiliated and feel embarrassed and they don’t want to suffix Singh and Kaur after their name,” Chowdhury said.

Referring to a recent comment by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during campaign for Bihar assembly polls that all Biharis are intelligent people, the lawyer said that it reflected as if other communities were not intelligent. To this the bench said, “Don’t worry, when he will go to Punjab he will say Sikhs are intelligent.”

“A writ of mandamus be issued to the respondent to ban websites 5,000 which spread jokes on Sardars/Sikhs projecting them as unintelligent, stupid, idiot, foolish, naive, inept not well versed with English…on the ground that it violates fundamental right to life and to live with dignity guaranteed under article 21 of the Constitution,” the plea said.

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