The Madras High Court had directed the State Government to grant permission to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to conduct route marches in all the places where they had sought permission. The Court allowed the Writ Petitions filed by members of the RSS after the state did not grant permission for nearly a month after the filing of applications.

The Bench of Justice G. Jayachandran found that the reasons cited by the Advocate General on behalf of the state to refuse permission were "lame". The State had passed individual orders refusing permission, after the High Court issued notice in the Writ Petitions filed by RSS members.

"The chart provided by the learned Advocate General, which annexed to the judgment, are lame reasons to say the least. The State to circumvent or defy the mandate of Hon'ble Supreme Court order to deny permission to the Organization to conduct rally in a democratic manner had listed out reasons and it only exposes the inability of the State machinery", the Court held in the Judgment.

The Court also held that the orders of rejection passed by the State were not in tune with secular or democratic ways of governance. The Court was referring to the objection of the State that there are Mosques and Churches in the procession route.

The Court held, "By citing the existence of the structures, place of worship of other religion or office of some organizations, which do not share the same ideology of RSS, the request of RSS to conduct procession and public meeting is rejected. This order is contrary to the principle of Secularism which is the foundation of our Constitution of India".

Senior Advocates G. Rajagopalan, N. L. Rajan and G. Karthikeyan appeared for the Petitioners while Advocate General R. Shanmuga Sundaram and State Public Prosecutor Hasan Mohammed Jinnah appeared for the Respondents.

At the outset, the Court noted the orders passed by the High Court and the Supreme Court last year with respect to route marches of RSS last year. The Court noted that factual background from last year is required to be extracted since the State, without considering the application for granting permission to conduct rally, made these Writ Petitioners wait for nearly a month.

"Till filing the Writ Petition, they did not pass any order on their representations. Fearing that, the State may pass orders at the eleventh hour keeping the Organizers guessing, they have filed Writ Petitions", the Court noted.

The Court noted that the Superintendent of Police of the Districts concerned had given a questionnaire containing about 36 questions and sought the response of the applicants within 24 hours from the receipt of the questionnaires. It also noted that the applicants had provided information which is within their knowledge and gathered by them.

The Court annexed the tabulation containing the reasons cited by the State for the rejection of applications to the Judgment.

The Court rejected the argument of the Advocate General that since the State had passed orders rejecting applications after the filing of the Writ Petition, the Petitioners ought to challenge the rejection and that the Writ Petitions seeking Mandamus cannot be pursued further.

The Court ordered that the Superintendent of Police of the concerned Districts, to whom the applications are made shall issue permission after having consultation with the Organizers, if necessary. It also ordered that RSS may be amenable for minor change in the route, if the District Administration feels that it may be difficult for them to provide bandobust in a particular route. "If there is any such difficulty, the District Administration can have consultation with the Organizers and provide alternative route", the Court ordered.

"The starting point and ending point shall not be compromised under the guise of changing the route. The permission in writing with necessary restriction to be issued atleast three days prior to the date of rally/meeting", the Court ordered.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh had moved the Madras High Court when the State did not grant permission, despite their application, to conduct route marches in different parts of the state on the occasion of Vijaya Dashami.

Cause Title: S.Raja Desingu v. The State of Tamil Nadu & Ors.

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