Udhayanidhi's Sanatana remark is not hate speech, says retired HC judge
The retired judge also expressed hope that the Supreme Court would dismiss the petitions filed against Udhayanidhi without entertaining them.
MADURAI: Commenting on the ongoing legal row over minister Udhayanidhi Stalin's remarks on Sanatana Dharma, retired high court judge Justice Hari Paranthaman said the minister's comment can in no way be equated to hate speech and that the issue is being politicised in view of the upcoming elections.
Speaking at a press conference organised by a group of advocates in support of the minister on Saturday evening, the retired judge also expressed hope that the Supreme Court would dismiss the petitions filed against Udhayanidhi without entertaining them.
Many leaders in TN's history have spoken against the caste system and varnashrama, he pointed out. He also quoted Ambedkar and said, "Ambedkar's criticism of Sanatana and caste system was much stronger but no case was registered against him. Many leaders have made similar statements. Since Udhayanidhi is the chief minister's son, the issue is being politicised."
Moreover, Udhayanidhi had only called for eradication of the caste system and caste-based discrimination. Caste atrocity incidents like Nanguneri and Vengaivayal are proof of the need to abolish the caste system and untouchability, he added. "BJP leaders are spreading false propaganda as if he called for a genocide of Hindus or followers of Sanatana. We strongly condemn such false propaganda," Paranthaman said.
When people have the right to speak in support of Sanatana Dharma, don't those opposing the doctrine not have the same right?, he questioned, adding that the Constitution guarantees freedom of speech to everyone. A comment should be countered by a comment and not by threats or Court cases, he added.
Meanwhile, advocate S Vanchinathan commented on the petitions filed against the minister in Supreme Court and said the content of some of the petitions were laughable and downright incorrect on both legal and factual aspects. "Petitions seeking registration of FIR should first file a complaint with local police or SP or go before the jurisdictional magistrate. They cannot directly approach the Supreme Court," Vanchinathan said. He also remarked that opposing Sanatana is synonymous to promoting 'Samathuvam' or equality and said they (the group of advocates) stand with Udhayanidhi.