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Supreme Court dismisses Tamil Nadu’s pleas against Madras HC order allowing RSS marches in state

2023-12-03 12:33:48source:qsj

In a setback for the DMK-led Tamil Nadu government, the Supreme Court Tuesday rejected objections raised by the state and upheld a decision of the Madras High Courtallowing the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to conduct route marches in the state.

Supreme Court dismisses Tamil Nadu’s pleas against Madras HC order allowing RSS marches in state

A bench of Justices V Ramasubramanian and Pankaj Mithal said it found nothing wrong in the order of the Madras High Court allowing the rallies.

Supreme Court dismisses Tamil Nadu’s pleas against Madras HC order allowing RSS marches in state

Referring to the submissions of the counsel for the RSS, the bench said “the main objection raised by the State before the High Court was that after the imposition of a ban order on another organisation, law and order problems cropped up in certain places and that the same led to several cases being registered”.

Supreme Court dismisses Tamil Nadu’s pleas against Madras HC order allowing RSS marches in state

Stating that it did not wish to cite in its order the details of these cases provided by the state in a chart, the Supreme Court, said “the chart provided by the State Government shows that the members of the respondent organisation (RSS) were the victims in many of those cases and that they were not the perpetrators” and it could not find fault with the High Court order permitting the rallies.

The state government had said that following the Centre’s ban on the radical Popular Front of India (PFI), there was a threat to RSS cadre and leaders.

Hearing a batch of petitions by RSS office-bearers seeking directions to permit its members to conduct route marches through identified places on a specified date, a single-judge bench of the High Court on September 22, 2022 directed the state authorities “to grant permission to conduct procession and to conduct public meeting…at various places” on the proposed date subject to certain conditions.

Supreme Court dismisses Tamil Nadu government’s appeal challenging the Madras High Court judgement allowing Rashtreeya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to carry out route marches in the state. @IndianExpress

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Later, taking up some petitions seeking contempt proceedings against the state authorities for not granting permission despite this order, the judge modified the September 22 order on November 4 and said “the procession and public meetings should be conducted in a compounded premises such as Ground or Stadium”.

On appeal, a High Court division bench on February 10, 2023 set aside the November 4 order and restored the September 22 order.


The division bench said that “even though the State has the right to impose restrictions, it cannot prohibit them totally, but only impose reasonable restrictions”.

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“Since the organisation has the right to conduct peaceful procession and meetings in a public place, the State, under the guise of new intelligence input, cannot seek to impose any condition which has the effect of perpetually banning or infringing the fundamental rights of the organisation citing law and order problem, after the order passed in the writ petitions, which attained finality”.

The division bench said, “It is the duty of the State to maintain law and order situation… It is also the bounden duty of the State to provide adequate security to a lawful claim and to ensure that the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution are not abridged. That apart, the ideology of every organisation or political outfit in the State need not be identical or acceptable to another. Just because there are other outfits that have a different ideology, the permission sought cannot be denied. The decisions of the State must be in the public interest rather than on ideology and political understanding and affiliation.”

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Dismissing the Tamil Nadu government’s appeal against this, the Supreme Court agreed with the High Court that the single-judge bench could not have modified its own order. “The learned (single) Judge (in the September 22, 2022 order) not only interpreted the relevant provisions of the law correctly but also imposed necessary conditions. This is why the learned Judge could not review his own order,” it said.

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