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‘Sanatan Dharma’ remark: SC issues notice to Udhayanidhi Stalin, A Raja, Tamil Nadu govt

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Tamil Nadu government and DMK leader Udhayanidhi Stalin for his remarks calling for the eradication of ‘Sanatan Dharma’.
A bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Bela M Trivedi also issued notice to MP A Raja, MP Thol Thirumavalavan, MP Thiru Su Venkatesan, Tamil Nadu DGP, Greater Chennai Police Commissioner, Union Home Ministry, Minister for Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowment Department PK Sekar Babu, Chairman of Tamil Nadu State Minorities Commission Peter Alphonse and others.
The apex court which was initially reluctant to entertain the plea and asked the petitioner to approach the High Court, agreed to hear the case.
The bench asked about the context of the remarks, the advocate appearing for Chennai-based lawyer B Jagannath who filed the plea, said, "They have called for eradication of a faith, in an institution."
The Counsel argued that if such a comment was made by an individual it would be understood, but the State unleashing its machinery.
He told the bench that Circulars have been given asking students to speak against it.
“A constitutional functionary speaking like this is impermissible. Second, students should not be forced to speak out against so and so Dharma,” the counsel said.
The plea filed through advocate Balaji Gopalan sought intervention to not allow Udhayanidhi Stalin and others to make further remarks on ‘Sanatana Dharma’.
It also sought to declare the participation of Tamil Nadu Ministers in the meeting -- Sanatana Dharma Eradication conference -- held on September 2, as unconstitutional.
The petition further sought direction from the respondents -- Stalin, Peter Alphonse, A Raja Thol Thirumavalavan and their followers -- not to make any further remarks against Sanatana Dharma or Hinduism.
The petitioner urged the DGP to submit a report as to how the conference was given police permission and why no action was taken against the perpetrators and the organisation responsible for the event.
The plea sought directions from the Home Secretary and the CBI Director to immediately direct an investigation and enquiry into the background of holding such events, including the sources pertaining to who is responsible for the contribution of the amount to such organisations.
It also sought directions from the Tamil Nadu government's Higher Education Department, asking them not to hold any events on ‘Sanatana Dharma’ in secondary schools.
The remarks of DMK leader Udhayanidhi Stalin triggered a massive political controversy across the country.
On September 5, 262 eminent citizens including former High Court judges and bureaucrats wrote to the Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud urging him to take note of Stalin’s hate speech calling for the eradication of ‘Sanatana Dharma’.
They wrote a letter to the CJI stating that the Supreme Court had directed the governments and police authorities to take suo motu action in hate speech cases without waiting for the lodging of formal complaints.

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