The Supreme Court on September 27 has taken a significant step in addressing the controversy surrounding Tamil Nadu Minister and DMK leader Udhayanidhi Stalin's remarks about 'Sanatana Dharma'. On Wednesday, the apex court decided to tag a petition, filed by Delhi-based lawyer Vineet Jindal, seeking the registration of a First Information Report (FIR) against Udhayanidhi Stalin, with another plea in which the court had issued notice just last week.
A bench comprising Justices Aniruddha Bose and Bela M Trivedi presided over the hearing of the writ petition filed by Vineet Jindal. Jindal's petition argued that Udhayanidhi's comments constituted 'hate speech' and urged the court to initiate criminal proceedings against him for allegedly hurting religious sentiments.
At the commencement of the hearing, the court clarified its intention to not issue a separate notice for Jindal's petition but instead to connect it with the previously noticed plea. In response, Tamil Nadu Additional Advocate General Amit Anand Tiwari expressed concerns about the influx of public interest litigations (PILs) that have been filed across different high courts in the country regarding Udhayanidhi's remarks. Tiwari referred to these PILs as "publicity interest litigations" and raised apprehensions about their impact on the state, saying, "This is really unfortunate."
AAG Tiwari also questioned the necessity of filing yet another petition when the court had already agreed to hear a similar plea. Justice Bose responded by stating, "We are not issuing notice, but tagging this with the other one. We will examine the question of entertaining on the next day." Strongly objecting to the allegations made by the state's law officer, Advocate Raj Kishor Choudhary, representing the petitioner, sought to justify the current writ petition by asserting, "A genocidal call has been made by the State."
The controversy surrounding Udhayanidhi Stalin, the DMK leader and son of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, erupted earlier this month following his remarks comparing 'Sanatana Dharma' to diseases like 'malaria' and 'dengue,' while advocating for its elimination, citing its connection to the caste system and historical discrimination. This contentious statement not only triggered a major political row but also resulted in several criminal complaints being filed against Udhayanidhi and multiple pleas being submitted to the Supreme Court, seeking action against him.
In Vineet Jindal's petition, he expressed that his religious sentiments as a Hindu and adherent of Sanatana Dharma were deeply offended by Udhayanidhi's remarks. Jindal contended that these comments, which likened Sanatana Dharma to mosquitoes, dengue, corona, and malaria, amounted to hate speech. Consequently, the Delhi-based lawyer requested the court to direct the registration of an FIR against Udhayanidhi as well as DMK MP A Raja, who had also sparked controversy with alleged remarks against 'Sanatana Dharma'.
Jindal further questioned why the Tamil Nadu police had not acted in compliance with the Supreme Court's direction to initiate suo motu criminal proceedings against hate speech and called for contempt of court action against both the Delhi and Chennai police. In related news, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear yet another plea seeking the initiation of criminal proceedings against Udhayanidhi and others.
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