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RSS Route March: Madras High Court Directs TN Government To Grant Permission For November 6

Upasana Sajeev
30 Sep 2022 11:56 AM GMT
RSS Route March: Madras High Court Directs TN Government To Grant Permission For November 6
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The Madras High Court on Monday directed the Tamilnadu government to grant permission for the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to conduct their route march on November 6th instead of October 2. Meanwhile, the court decided to keep the contempt petition against the Tamil Nadu government pending to ensure proper compliance. Justice GK Ilanthiraiyan passed the orders on a contempt petition...

The Madras High Court on Monday directed the Tamilnadu government to grant permission for the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to conduct their route march on November 6th instead of October 2. Meanwhile, the court decided to keep the contempt petition against the Tamil Nadu government pending to ensure proper compliance.

Justice GK Ilanthiraiyan passed the orders on a contempt petition moved by RSS against State's refusal to grant permission despite court orders passed on September 22nd when the court had ruled positively and directed the state to grant permission.

When the matter came up for hearing today, Senior Counsel Prabakar, appearing for the RSS submitted that the police could not refrain from granting permission citing new reasons when the court has specifically directed them to grant permission. He submitted that the police were in willful disobedience of the court orders and that no one, not even the state government was above law.

He submitted that the State had refused to grant permission citing the recent ban on Popular Front of India. "Just because some other organisation is banned, I needn't suffer. The RSS is not a banned organisation", Prabakar submitted before the court. He also cited decisions of the Supreme Court where the court has repeatedly held that the police was bound to follow court orders and willful disobedience would lead to punishment. 

Senior Counsel G Rajagopal, also appearing for the RSS submitted that the state could not deny permission merely by citing law and order as a reason. The Supreme Court has also took this view and has held that it was the duty of the police to maintain the law and order. He also informed the court that permission for route march was granted in Puducherry and even in Kerala, where PFI had committed violence initially.

Senior Counsel NL Rajah, who was also representing the RSS questioned as to how the State was objecting the celebration of birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. He submitted that denying such permission was against the very democratic principles and affected the fundamental rights and liberty.

Senior Counsel NR Elango, appearing for the police submitted that the permission for route march was denied in light of the recent ban on the PFI organisation. He stated that the authorities had  repeatedly received Intelligence Reports against allowing RSS procession to be carried out on the 2nd October. "We can't ignore these reports," he submitted before the court. 

He further submitted that there was a threat against law and order due to the recent action taken against PFI. Even in Thiruvallur district, the permission was denied in light of NIA raids in PFI establishments and the subsequent violence including petrol bomb attack on the RSS functionaries. 

He also submitted that public interest is supreme and it is the duty of the state to ensure safety of its people. He also informed the court that the objection was for conducting procession on the 2nd of October and that it could be carried out on any other day. 

"They are claiming that they want to celebrate the centenary of Dr. Ambedkar also. Why didn't they do it on April 14th. Why only October 2nd. They're trying to celebrate pongal during Diwali. October 2nd had its own sanctity" Mr. Elango remarked.

Public Prosecutor Hassan Mohammed Jinnah also informed the court that already more than 50,000 police personnel were deployed in different parts of the State to maintain order and to protect the lives of citizens amidst attacks by PFI.

After hearing the parties, the court noted that the State's objection was only with respect to conduct of procession on October 2nd. He suggested that the RSS can give alternative dates for carrying on the procession. "They're saying that due to the PFI ban you'll also be facing threats. We cannot ignore that", the judge orally remarked.

In light of the alternative dates given by the RSS, the court held that the route march could be carried out on November 6th. The case was adjourned to October 31st and the state was directed grant necessary permission before such date. If the state fails to do so, the court stated that it will initiate contempt proceedings.

Earlier today, the court reserved orders on a plea moved by VCK leader Thirumavalan seeking a review of the order passed by the court granting permission to the RSS to carry out route march. 

Case Title: R Karthikeyan v. K Phanindra Reddy and others

Case No: Contempt Petition No. 2111 of 2022

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