20 Nov 2023 9:21 AM GMT
The Supreme Court on Monday (20.11.2023), directed the State of Tamil Nadu to submit a proposal to the Madras High Court on how it will ensure that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will be permitted to conduct route marches in the state in the future without seeking the intervention of the court. A bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice Dipankar Datta directed that the High Court...
The Supreme Court on Monday (20.11.2023), directed the State of Tamil Nadu to submit a proposal to the Madras High Court on how it will ensure that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will be permitted to conduct route marches in the state in the future without seeking the intervention of the court.
A bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice Dipankar Datta directed that the High Court must consider such a proposal only after inviting objections/suggestions from the RSS as well. Apex Court said this will avoid unnecessary litigation in the future.
Earlier this month, the State of Tamil Nadu had agreed before the Apex Court that it would allow the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to hold marches in various districts across the state either on November 19th or 26th. The Court accordingly asked RSS to submit the proposed routes to the State authorities within three days and the State to take a decision on the routes by November 15th.
Today, Senior Adv. Kapil Sibal appearing for the State of Tamil Nadu, informed the Court that permission was granted to conduct route marches across all districts on 19th November.
The Apex Court has been hearing Special Leave Petitions filed by the State against the Madras High Court orders directing the police authorities to grant permission to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to carry out route marches in in the State. Two recent orders of the Madras High Court have been challenged before the Apex Court. One passed by a single bench of Justice G Jayachandran on 16th October and another order passed on 18th October by a single bench of Justice G Ilangovan of the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court.
On 1st November, the Madras High Court had criticised the Tamil Nadu government for its failure to comply with the court orders issued earlier in connection with granting permission to the RSS to conduct a route march. The contempt petition was filed by the party after the State denied them permission to conduct a route march in spite of an earlier order directing the police authorities in the State to grant permission. The High Court has issued notice in the matter.
Today, Sr. Adv Sibal urged that the contempt proceedings be suspended since the respondent (RSS) has got the relief prayed for. However this was strongly objected by Sr. Adv. Guru Krishna Kumar the counsel for the respondent.
The Court refused to close the contempt proceedings and asked the state to submit its proposal before the contempt court.
"You are not required to go to the court every time. Getting court orders, then compliance with the orders.. everytime.. why should it be like this? Both sides unnecessarily waste their time and the court's time also, which could be spent on some other pending cases..If they (State) come out with a proposal subject to your acceptance (RSS) which can regulate future events, then you will also probably not press contempt in the future, since you are not against any particular individual" Justice Surya Kant said to the counsel for the Respondent.
"The petitioner(State of TN) is at liberty to apprise the High Court that they immediately availed their legal remedy, against the directions issued by the High Court, and thereafter have faithfully and earnestly complied with the order passed by this court on 6th November 2023. We have no reason to doubt that the High Court shall take into consideration all the subsequent events, most importantly, the proposal to be submitted on behalf of the petitioners for future course of action. The High Court may accordingly pass appropriate orders" the Supreme Court clarified in its order.
Sr. Adv. Kapil Sibal and AAG for Tamil Nadu Adv. Amit Anand Tiwari requested that the State be allowed to submit the proposal before the Supreme Court, instead of the High Court. However, the Apex Court refused to do so. "High Court judges are better equipped to consider local conditions" Justice Dipankar Datta said.
Justice G Jayachandran of the Madras High Court while passing the order dated 16th October had noted that the state's denial of permission to RSS by merely stating that there were other structures and places of worship in the intended route was against the constitutional principle of Secularism.
“The tenure of the rejection order certainly not in tune with Secular or democratic way of governance. It is neither in obedience or compliance of the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India dictum. By citing the existence of the structures, place of worship of other religion or office of some organizations, which do not share the same ideology of RSS, the request of RSS to conduct procession and public meeting is rejected. This order is contrary to the principle of Secularism which is the foundation of our Constitution of India,” the court observed.
The RSS had approached the court seeking directions to the State to grant permission for their route marches. During the pendency of the case, however, the State had categorically rejected the request for conducting a rally. However, considering the circumstances, the court deemed it fit to mould the prayer and look into the rejection order itself.
In the order passed by the Madurai Bench, the High Court had recorded the submission of the Counsel appearing for the Petitioners that the RSS will maintain discipline throughout the events. The High Court had warned that no RSS members must speak ill of any caste or religion during the march. The High Court had imposed several conditions on the march such as setting a limit of 500 participants on the march. The High Court had also said that the participants would not be allowed to bring bring any stick, lathi or any weapon to the march.
Last year, a single judge of the High Court had, in similar circumstances, permitted RSS to conduct a route march on certain conditions. Though a review application by the State was dismissed, when the RSS filed a contempt petition for non-compliance of the order, the court modified the earlier order and imposed certain restrictions. When an intra-court appeal was preferred, the division bench set aside the order imposing conditions. The order of the division bench was also upheld by the Supreme Court.
Case Title: THE STATE OF TAMIL NADU vs. S.RAJA DESINGU, SLP(C) No. 24234-24265/2023
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