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Tamil Nadu moves Supreme Court against Madras High Court allowing RSS route march in state

The State of Tamil Nadu on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court against the Madras High Court order that gave permission to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for carrying out its route march across the state on rescheduled dates. 

On February 10 this year, the High Court of Madras had directed the Tamil Nadu police to grant permission to the proposed statewide march and public meeting by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in the state.

The Division Bench of Justice R. Mahadevan and Justice Mohammed Shaffiq had set aside the November 4 order of the Single-Judge, which had asked the right-wing outfit to hold the march indoors or in an enclosed space.

The High Court consequently restored an order of September 29 last year, which had directed the Tamil Nadu police to consider representation made by RSS and grant them permission to conduct the march, as well as the public meeting.

Noting that a democratic State must uphold the citizens’ right to freedom of speech and expression, the Bench observed that it was essential for the citizens to hold protests and route marches, in order to maintain a healthy democracy.

The High Court said the State authorities must uphold the citizens’ freedom of speech and expression, which was a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution.

The approach of a State to a citizen’s rights can never be adversarial in a welfare state, it added.

RSS had challenged the November 4 order, which among other things, had directed the right-wing outfit to conduct its route march in an enclosed space or indoors.

The Division Bench had reserved its verdict on January 24 this year, on the batch of appeals filed by RSS.

During the previous hearing, Senior Counsel N.L. Rajah, who appeared for RSS, had argued that Tamil Nadu was the only State in the country where the RSS route march and public meeting had not taken place on October 2, due to the opposition by the state government.

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