NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today agreed to hear on April 5 the plea of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) along with other petitions seeking ban on circulation of jokes about the Sikh community and said it may act if people are commercially exploiting the jokes.
A bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice U U Lalit said that the fresh plea of the SGPC would be tagged along with other pending matters on the issue and will be heard together on April 5.
During the brief hearing, the bench asked advocate Satinder Singh Gulati, appearing for SGPC, to point out the areas where sub-judicial orders can be passed.
"Tell us which are the areas where we can do something. We will certainly look into it if entire community is feeling harassed," the bench said, adding that it may pass some orders if circulation of such jokes is being commercially exploited.
The counsel for SGPC said, "A stereotype has been created and Sikhs are being discriminated in society because of a particular language and religion." The bench asked the counsel to give suggestions and assured him that it will certainly look into them.
Earlier, on a separate plea by Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC) against jokes on Sikhs, the apex court had observed that there was a need for sensitising the society from the formative stages.
The Supreme Court, which had asked for suggestions from the committee, had said it can stop jokes when they are circulated for a commercial purpose and it would examine the framing of guidelines to stop circulation of racist or communal jokes in the cyber world.
The DSGMC, whose plea is also pending before the court, has sought direction to Telecom Ministry to filter websites which targeted the Sikh community on the ground that it was violative of sections 153A and 153B of the IPC. It had said the community was against making and circulating of jokes on Sikhs, Biharis and calling people from Northeastern states by a particular term.
Another PIL filed by woman lawyer Harvinder Chowdhary had claimed that hardly 300 people from the community or few of them enjoyed such jokes and sociological aspects have a bearing on the issue. The apex court on January 4 had said it will seriously consider examining plea to ban websites displaying jokes on Sikhs. During the hearing on October 30 last year, the bench had said, "This (Sikh) community is known for a great sense of humour and they also enjoy such jokes. You must have gone through the jokes of Khushwant Singh...
This is only an amusement. Why do you want it to be stopped?" The PIL had said there were over 5,000 websites which displayed jokes on sardars projecting the members of the community in poor light.