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Udhayanidhi Stalin’s ‘Sanatan Dharma’ remark amounts to “hate speech”: Eminent citizens write to CJI

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NEW DELHI, Sept 5: Over 260 eminent citizens, including former judges and bureaucrats, have
written to Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud urging him to take cognisance of DMK leader
Udhayanidhi Stalin’s eradicate “Sanatan Dharma” comment, calling it “hate speech”.
In a letter to the CJI, the signatories, including former Delhi HC judge S N Dhingra, said not only did
Udhayanidhi Stalin make a hate speech but refused to apologise for his remarks.
The letter, signed by 262 people including 14 retired judges, 130 former bureaucrats and 118 ex-
armed forces officers, said they are deeply concerned over the remarks made by the Tamil Nadu
minister which undeniably amount to “hate speech” against a large population of India and strike at
the very core of the Constitution of India which envisages a secular nation.
The letter said action is needed in order to preserve the secular character of the country.
Any delay on the part of the administration in taking action on very serious issues will invite the
court’s contempt, it said.
The letter said 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 suo moto (on its own) 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 and we request you to
take immediate appropriate actions.
“We sincerely hope for the thoughtful consideration of our plea and implore immediate measures to
ensure justice and rule of law to prevail,” it said.
The letter referred to a Supreme Court order wherein it had asked the authorities to take action in
cases of hate speech on its own without waiting for a complaint to be filed.
In his address at a meeting of the Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers and Artists Association in Chennai
on Saturday, the DMK leader, a film actor and son of Chief Minister M K Stalin, had likened Sanatan
Dharma to coronavirus, malaria and dengue and said such things should not be opposed but
destroyed.
As a massive controversy erupted over his remarks, Udhayanidhi Stalin stuck to his guns and said he
will continue to speak out against caste discrimination in all religions.
The letter stated that the rule of law was undermined when the Tamil Nadu government refused to
take any action against Udhayanidhi Stalin and rather chose to justify his remarks.
“In the case of Shaheen Abdulla v. Union of India and Ors, the Supreme Court of India observed that
there cannot be fraternity unless different religious communities are amenable to live in harmony.
“The Supreme Court has expressed concern over the growing incidents of hate speeches in the
country and has directed the governments and police authorities to take suo moto action in such
cases without waiting for the lodging of formal complaints,” the letter said.
In Shaheen Abdulla case, the apex court held that the Constitution of India envisages a secular
nation and directed state governments to come down hard on hate speeches.
“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,” it said. (PTI)

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