Sunday, December 10, 2023

Supreme Court to hear plea against Sanatana Dharma eradication conference tomorrow

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The Supreme Court will hear on Friday a writ petition alleging that the Sanatana Dharma Eradication Conference held in Tamil Nadu earlier this month, was specifically organised to target Hinduism and spread hatred towards the Sanatana Dharma. 

The Bench of Justice Aniruddha Bose and Justice Bela M. Trivedi would be hearing the plea tomorrow. 

Earlier on September 15, the petition was mentioned for urgent listing before the Bench led by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud. However, the CJI refused to grant urgent hearing to the plea and directed the petitioner’s lawyer to follow the procedure.

Filed by Advocate B. Jagannath, a practising lawyer in the Madras High Court, the petition contended that the conference, held on September 2 in Chennai by an organisation Tamil Nadu Murpokku Ezhuthalar Sangam, aimed at eradicating a specific religion.

It contended that the Conference was held specifically to abuse Hinduism (also referred to as Sanatana Dharma), humiliate it and to speak about the religion in a derogatory language.

The plea highlighted that the said conference was attended by Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious Charitable Endowment Minister P.K. Sekar Babu, State Sports Minister Udaynidhi Stalin, President of Dravida Kazhagam K. Veeramani, Chairman of Tamil Nadu State Minorities Commission & Congress MLA Peter Alphonse, and VCK Member of Parliament Thol Thirumalvalavan.

It alleged that Udaynidhi Stalin, son of Chief Minister and State Home Minister M.K. Stalin, made a statement indicating that Sanatana Dharma should be completely eradicated, likening it to the eradication of diseases such as Dengue, Malaria and Covid-19. 

The petition, filed through the Advocate-on-Record Gopalan Balaji and settled by Senior Advocate P. Valliappan, alleged that MP Thol Thirumavalavan openly called for genocide against Brahmins and urged the OBCs and SCs to unite.

Highlighting this as a classic case and a textbook example of hate speech, the petitioner sought  action against Udhayanidhi Stalin for harbouring and expressing such hatred against Hindus.

It said that if no FIR was registered on his complaint against Stalin, Sekar Babu, Veeramani or even the organisers of the said conference even after so much of hue and cry, it was clear that there was bias, favouritism and discrimination against Hindus.

The plea further claimed that inaction against such people meant that even the Tamil Nadu Police was not as religiously neutral as the British Police.

It said despite the Constitution being in force in a secular country, this was unfortunately happening in India. It was needlessly evident to state that there has been a systematic complete breakdown of constitutional machinery in the State of Tamil Nadu, it added.

Recalling a 2018 verdict of the Supreme Court, the petitioner claimed that the Apex Court had mandated the appointment of a Nodal Officer to combat hate speech. However, the Tamil Nadu Police, up to the present day, have defied the Court’s order and have not appointed any Nodal Officer for hate speech, it pointed out. 

The petitioner said that he strongly condemned the actions of a Sadhu in Ayodhya, who offered Rs 10 crore as ransom for killing Udhayanidhi, however, it did not countenance the fact that these politicians could get away after committing heinous crimes of hate speech. This was evident in the open support given by the Chief Minister to his son, added the petitioner.

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