Ideology Of An Outfit Need Not Be Acceptable To Another, Can’t Deny Permission To Outfits With Different Ideology- Madras HC While Allowing RSS Route March
While setting aside the Order allowing RSS to conduct route marches across Tamil Nadu only inside compounded premises, the Madras High Court has observed that the ideology of every organization or political outfit in the State need not be identical or acceptable to another.
It added that just because, there are other outfits that have a different ideology, the permission sought cannot be denied.
“…the ideology of every organization 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.”, Justice R. Mahadevan and Justice Mohammed Shaffiq noted.
The Madras High Court also observed that the State authorities must act in a manner to uphold the fundamental right to freedom of speech, expression and assembly.
“…we are of the view that the State authorities must act in a manner to uphold the fundamental right to freedom of speech, expression and assembly as regarded one of the most sacrosanct and inviolable rights envisaged in our Constitution.”, the bench observed.
The bench further noted that the State's approach towards citizens' right can never be adversarial in a welfare State.
“The State's approach towards citizens' right can never be adversarial in a welfare State and it must be considered for granting permission for peaceful rallies, protest, processions or meeting so as to maintain a healthy democracy where the constitution reigns supreme and the fundamental rights of citizens are placed at a lofty pedestal.”, the Court noted.
Senior Advocates N.L. Rajah, G. Rajagopalan and S. Ravi appeared for the appellants whereas N.R. Elango, Senior Advocate assisted by E. Raj Thilak Additional Public Prosecutor appeared for Respondents.
Earlier the single bench of the High Court had imposed certain conditions while granting permission to the RSS to conduct procession. The Court had directed that the procession and public meetings should be conducted in compounded premises such as Ground or Stadium.
The aforesaid Order of the Single Judge was challenged before the Division Bench.
It was the submission of RSS that its plea seeking directions to the State to grant permission to conduct route march were disposed of by giving positive directions to the state to permit RSS to conduct the Route March.
It was further submitted that the request to conduct the route march and public meeting was rejected by the state which led to the filing of contempt petitions.
It was the contention of RSS that in the contempt petitions, instead of punishing the respondents for violating order passed in the writ petitions, the Single judge issued fresh directions.
The Division Bench noted that when the only question raised in the writ petitions, was limited to, whether permission must be granted to the writ petitioners and such question had been decided finally in the writ petitions, there was no scope for any interim measures or interlocutory orders.
The Court further added that if at all there was any need or scope for altering the directions issued in the writ petitions, the same could have been done in the review applications preferred by the State authorities.
The Court noted that once the said review applications were dismissed without there being any modification of the order passed in the writ petitions, the order in the contempt petitions should have been limited to the exercise of seeing if there was any wilful disobedience of the order passed in the writ petitions.
“…in the present case, not only have the contempt petitions been dismissed in effect, but the very directions issued in the writ petitions had been modified in the contempt petitions on the basis of the new facts that had been brought before the court by the State authorities for reasoning out as to why they had not complied with the order passed in the writ petitions.”, the Court observed.
The Court also noted that “…the relief sought for in the writ petitions being in the nature of a route-march, which by its very nature included taking out a procession on the route specified, could not have been altered to a meeting that would have to take place within a compounded place like a stadium or a closed place or indoors.”
The Court observed that since the organization has the right to conduct peaceful procession and meetings in 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 organization.
Thus the Court set aside the Order of the Single Judge.
The Court has directed RSS to approach the State authorities with three different dates of their choice for the purpose of holding the route-march. The Court directed the State authorities to grant permission to the RSS on one of the chosen dates out of the three.
Cause Title- G. Subramanian v. K. Phanindra Reddy, I.A.S & Ors.