NEW DELHI: Expressing their anguish over the "hate speech" made by Chief Minister M K Stalin's son Udhayanidhi about the 'Sanatan Dharma', a group of former judges, retired bureaucrats and Army veterans have asked Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud to take Suo Motu contempt action against Tamil Nadu government over its failure to act in the matter.
In a letter, as many as 262 eminent citizens claimed the Tamil Nadu government's failure to take action against the Minister runs in the face of the Supreme Court's judgements in the case of 'Shaheen Abdulla vs Union of India and Ors' and 'Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay vs Union of India'.
The Supreme Court has then directed that state governments should take sue moto action against any hate speech crime without waiting for any complaint. Thus, cases should be suo moto registered and the offenders should be proceeded against in accordance with law. Any hesitation to act as per the directions would be viewed as contempt of court, they stated.
The letter signed by Delhi High Court's former judge Justice S N Dhingra, along with others, said a few days ago, Udhayanidhi, a serving Minister in the Tamil Nadu Government, while addressing a press conference in Chennai stated, “Few things cannot be opposed, they should be abolished. We can’t oppose dengue, mosquitoes, malaria, or corona, we have to eradicate them. In the same way, we have to eradicate the Sanatana (Sanatan Dharma), rather than opposing it”.
He further deliberately remarked that Sanatana Dharma enslaved women and did not allow them to step out of their homes, they said.
"Not only did he make a hate speech but Udhayanidhi refused to apologise for his remarks. Rather he justified himself by stating: “I will say this continuously” with reference to his remark that Santana Dharma should be eradicated. He reiterated that he stands by his remarks and offered ambiguities and nuances that did little to address the concerns raised by people," they said.
Expressing their deep concern, the signatories said these remarks "undeniably amount to hate speech against a large population of India and strikes at the very core of the Constitution of India which envisages Bharat as a secular nation".
"Moreover, the rule of law was further undermined when the State Government of Tamil Nadu refused to take any action against Udhayanidhi Stalin and rather chose to justify his remarks," they said.
They said since the state government has refused to take action and acted in contempt of the court’s orders and gravely undermined or rather made a mockery of the rule of law, we urge the Supreme Court to take the suo moto notice of contempt, ensuring accountability for the inaction of the State Government of Tamil Nadu, and take decisive steps to prevent the inducement of hate speech, preserving public order and peace.
They also said, "Your lordship is aware of the importance of ‘Santana Dharma’ and the same cannot be understated. It is a set of duties incumbent upon all Hindus and has often been defined as an “eternal” that will always be relevant and gives the people of the Hindu faith, the freedom to choose mode of worship of the Almighty of their choice."