'Won't Deal With Individual Cases' : Supreme Court Refuses To Consider Plea Against Udhayanidhi Stalin For 'Sanatana Dharma' Remarks

Update: 2023-11-29 13:11 GMT
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While considering a batch of petitions seeking to curb hate speeches, the Supreme Court on Wednesday (November 29) clarified that it will not deal with individual cases of violations.Clarifying that its intent is to lay down an "infrastructure or mechanism" in place to deal with hate speech cases, the Court said that individual cases have to be dealt with by the jurisdictional courts.A...

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While considering a batch of petitions seeking to curb hate speeches, the Supreme Court on Wednesday (November 29) clarified that it will not deal with individual cases of violations.

Clarifying that its intent is to lay down an "infrastructure or mechanism" in place to deal with hate speech cases, the Court said that individual cases have to be dealt with by the jurisdictional courts.

A bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Bela M Trivedi was hearing a batch of seventeen petitions seeking various reliefs in relation to instances of hate speeches. Some petitions seek broad guidelines to curb hate crimes.

During the brief hearing, the bench clarified that it will not be dealing with applications relating to individual cases. This was after Advocate Nizam Pasha submitted that persons who have a history of making hate speeches should not be given permission to address meetings.

"We cannot deal with individual cases, we can't have a pan-India approach. What we want to do is put the infrastructure or administrative mechanism in place and if there is any breach or problem, then you will have to go to the respective High Courts. We cannot do pan-India approach over here. It will become impossible for us to handle. There will be, in a country like India, some problems. The question is whether we have enough administrative machinery in place to take action wherever required and to keep a check on it. Society must know that if they indulge in that, there will be a state action," Justice Khanna said.

Justice Khanna added that it would be impractical for the Supreme Court to deal with individual cases of violations. "If we do it across the country, every day we will be hearing one application," the judge said.

At this juncture, Advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain mentioned a contempt petition filed against Tamil Nadu Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin for his remarks against Sanatana Dharma (Amita Sachdeva v. Udhayanidhi Stalin Contempt Petition (C) 1235/23).

In response, Justice Khanna reiterated his stand that individual cases cannot be entertained.

"The contempt petition will not lie....go to the High Court. The contempt petition will not lie in this petition.  If we start entertaining contempt, we will be flooded with it. We are making it very clear, we will not go into individual cases. If we go into individual cases, there will be others who will be coming up with the same thing."

Jain then said that the Court has issued notice in other contempt cases, such as the case against Sudarshan News channel, Justice Khanna said, "When they come up, we will deal with them.  If we start going into individual cases, then we will not be able to deal with the main matter." The judge clarified that the application is not being disposed of today and the matter will be dealt with on the next hearing date.

Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay mentioned his PIL and said that there was a need to define hate speech.

"Hate speech has been defined by this Court, the question is of implementation and understanding how it is to be applied as to on which cases it is to be applied and on which it has not be applied. We cannot go into individual cases," Justice Khanna said.

Senior Advocate Siddharth Agarwal mentioned the Special Leave Petition filed by CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat against the Delhi High Court's judgment which refused to order registration of FIR against BJP leaders Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma for alleged hate speech. While the other matters are writ petitions, this was a special leave petition challenging a specific judgment, the senior counsel underscored. Justice Khanna said that the SLP will be segregated from the batch and will be dealt with separately.

The bench adjourned the matters to February 5, 2024 and appointed nodal counsels from each sides to prepare a chart indicating the parties in each petition and the reliefs claimed.

Also from the hearing - Hate Speech | Supreme Court Issues Notice To Gujarat, Kerala, TN & Nagaland To Ascertain If Nodal Officers Appointed

Case : Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v. Union of India | W.P.(C) No. 943/2021 and connected cases

 

 

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