In the comments of DMK minister Udhayanidhi Stalin, the Madras High Court has stated that Santan Dharma is an ‘eternal duty’. It can be gathered from the exercise of Hinduism and multiple sources of Hinduism. Sanatan Dharma believed that the duty of the king, the duty of the nation is to serve his people, one’s parents, and Gurus. Hinduism always promotes the care of the poor and other duties.
DMK Minister, Udhayanidhi Stalin, is a son of MK Stalin, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. He had likened ‘Sanatan Dharma’ to a viral disease like Malaria, COVID-19, and dengue. This statement stirred the political row and debate.
On this matter, Justice N Seshasayee gave the order on September 15 and said, "the very vociferous, and at times noisy debates on pro and anti-Sanatana Dharma". Additionally, saying that the court can’t help but be deeply concerned about the current situation surrounding us.
MHC said that when free speech is practiced, it should ensure that no one is hurt. This statement reminds us of the difference between ‘freedom and arbitrariness’–“free speech cannot be hate speech.”
On this date, the court also reminded that Article 17 of the Indian Constitution has already declared that untouchability has no space in India. Somewhere we have seen that Sanatan Dharma propagated an idea of untouchability and casteism. India is a multilingual culture and religion where inequality among citizens can’t be tolerated.
The Court also added that if someone or some organization permitted inequality within the principle of ‘Sanatan Dharma’, it is still not accepted. Giving reference to another Art.51A (a), the Hon'ble Court said every citizen needs respect for fundamental rights.
However, untouchability either outside or within Sanatan Dharma can no longer be constitutional. But, sadly people are practicing it and making it last. The court mentioned that every Indian citizen has a fundamental right to free speech under Article 19(1)(a). The order said that when the constitution has approved of the fundamental right to free speech, it is important to understand it; we should add value and respect it.
Along with this, MHC did not forget to point out that Article 19(1)(a) has been restricted by Article 19(2). So, when commenting on some facts and supporting them with the fundamental right to free speech, citizens need to follow up the entire Article 19.
The court also picked the point that Article 25 has promoted all Indians as having the fundamental right to practice any religion. It added, “Free speech cannot be hate speech”. As the Hon'ble Supreme Court has admonished. The users or speakers of free speech must not pass over these aspects while exercising their rights. If this is disdain, the course of any debate will get out of the track and the objective of the debate will lose significance.
And the fact of free speech, the court pointed out a question, "how free speech is seen exercised these days?” To answer, the court took an example from social media. And voiced that India has seen many incidents happen in terms of religion, cast over the many years till date.
If someone made free speech through social media and gave a lecture on rocket science on the basis of minor work in science, space, and rockets; it can give them attention for a short span but they may not take it more.
Edited by: Mariyam Qureshi
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