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Right To Atheism: Madras HC Reject PIL To Remove Atheistic Inscriptions Under Periyar Statues [Read Judgment]

Ashok Kini
6 Sep 2019 1:01 PM GMT
Right To Atheism: Madras HC Reject PIL To Remove Atheistic Inscriptions Under Periyar Statues [Read Judgment]

"Thanthai Periyar, had advocated both atheism and self respect."

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Emphasizing the right to propagate views questioning existence of God, the Madras High Court recently dismissed a Public Interest Litigation which sought to remove atheistic inscriptions below the statues of Thanthai Periyar in Tamil Nadu.

The bench comprising Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Subramonium Prasad observed that followers of Thanthai Periyar, in exercise of the rights under Article 19 of the Constitution of India, has a right to disagree with the existence of God.


Statue of Periyar [Source: Veethi.com]

There is no God, no God, no god,
Those who preached God is fool
Those who spread God Rogue
Those who pray God are Barbarians

These inscriptions below the statue of Thanthai Periyar erected all over the State of Tamil Nadu, offended Dr.M.Deivanayagam who filed a PIL seeking to remove them on the ground that it is an offensive language, and against the 'Universal God'.

According to Dr. Deivanayagam, Periyar had always advocated self-respect and not atheism. He further contended that Periyar had not uttered such words offending people.


Periyar had declared that there is no god, God doesn't exist, One who has created is a fool.

Justice Manikumar, in his judgment, made many references to writing and speeches of Periyar and concluded that he had, in all his speeches, publications, from 1928, had declared that there is no god, God doesn't exist, One who has created is a fool. The court also observed that, people recognize Periyar as a non believer of God and the one who fought for social justice and self respect. The court said:

Propagation of philosophy of self respect, social reform, ending caste system, equal rights, and Thanthai Periyar's vision to establish a society of brotherhood could be deciphered, and according to Thanthai Periyar, belief of God, was the sole reason for the inequalities in the society. Speeches and expression, extracted supra, from 1928 and enclosed in the typed set of papers makes it clear, without any iota of hesitation, one can clearly come to the conclusion that it is Thanthai Periyar's philosophy and ideology, which became a self respect movement and later on, a party.

Followers of Periyar Has Right To Propagate His Atheistic Views

The court further observed Dravidar Kazhagam Party, has every right under the Constitution of India, to fight for social justice in eradicating inequality, right for upliftment of women and downridden people, express views on religion and existence of God. It further observed that divergent views on philosophy should be allowed to be expressed, and that there cannot be a prevention of freedom of expression, with permanent interest of human progress. It said:

"The petitioner has a constitutional right under Article 19 of the Constitution of India, to express his views on religion and existence of God, in the light of the decision of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Lalai Singh Yadav's case, we are of the view that the 2nd respondent and the members of the party, or followers of Thanthai Periyar, in exercise of the rights under Article 19 of the Constitution of India, has a right to disagree with the same."

Image Source: Veethi.com

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