Do Not Identify Terrorist With His Religion: Madras HC [Read Order]

Nathuram Vinayak GodseNathuram Vinayak Godse

"Identifying a criminal with a religion, caste or race would definitely develop hatred among the people.”

In its order granting anticipatory bail to actor cum politician Kamal Hassan, the Madras High Court cautioned against identifying a criminal with his/her religion, race, place of birth, residence and language.

The founder of the Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM), had approached the High Court seeking anticipatory bail after a case was filed against him over his remark made during a speech that the first extremist of independent India was a Hindu, in a reference to Nathuram Godse who had assassinated Mahatma Gandhi.

Though Justice B.Pugalendhi granted him bail, the order contains the following quotes from Thirukkural, presumably as an advice to the actor.

"Let the good who know the uses of words speak with a clear knowledge after ascertaining the time and the audience.. Speak what is useful and speak not useless words."

Before the court, it was contended that he had referred Nathuram Godse only as an Extremist, not as a Terrorist. In this regard, the court said:

"Whether it is a fundamentalist, terrorist or an extremist, let them not be defined by their religion, race, place of birth, residence and language of a person. A person, becomes a criminal by his behaviour and not by his birth. Identifying a criminal with a religion, caste or race would definitely develop hatred among the people."

Hate Speech becoming Common, Media giving importance

The judge also said that hate speech is becoming a common affair and media is giving importance to it.

"Recently, hate speech becomes a common affair. Even before this Court yet another application was filed for seeking Anticipatory Bail by a woman for having compared Lord Palani Murugan with dog. Few months back, there was a controversy as against a leader that he defined Lord Krishna as the first rapist. Yet another Leader instigated his followers to destroy the statue of Thanthai Periyar. The Media is also giving more importance to these types of hate speeches and debates are made hours together."
"A small spark can light a lamp as well as can destroy a forest. What is required for the audience, in the election meeting, is a constructive solution for uplifting the common man. Our country has already witnessed several incidents pursuant to public speech. Innocent people have suffered enough. As pointed out by the Honourable Supreme Court, safety of the State is the supreme law (salus reipublicae suprema lex). It is the duty of the State, not only to take stringent action, but also to prevent the same."

Even if it is a historical event, if it is not made in a proper context, then it is an offence

The senior counsel submitted before the court that what Kamal Hassan has stated is a historical event. The court said: "Even if it is a historical event, if it is not made in a proper context, then it is an offence."

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