The Madras High Court, Madurai Bench has issued some directions to the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) while allowing it to conduct Route March in various districts of the Tamil Nadu State. The Court ordered that the organizers shall make adequate arrangements for drinking water and proper First Aid, Ambulance, Mobile Toilets, CCTV Cameras, Fire Fighting equipments, etc. and that the participants in the rally shall not exceed 500. The Court has also directed the state to favourably consider the applications for permission in some places in the Southern Districts, where the events can only be conducted after October 30.

A batch of writ petitions were filed before the court seeking directions to the respondents to permit the RSS members to conduct the procession (Route March). Earlier, the Principal Bench of the High Court had directed the State Government to grant permission to RSS to conduct route marches in all the places where they had sought permission saying that the reasons cited by the State to refuse permission were ‘lame’.

A Single Bench of Justice G. Ilangovan said, “… only in three districts, permission can be denied to the petitioners. So far as the other districts are concerned, I am of the considered view that only reasonable restrictions can be imposed upon them, in the light of the earlier order passed by this court. … In respect of the other writ petitions viz., WP(MD)Nos.24764, 24765, 24766, 24767, 24768, 24769, 24770, 24771, 24772, 24773, 24775, 24776, 24778, 24780, 24781 and 24783 are concerned, allowed by moulding the relief, permission may be granted to the petitioners to conduct the rally and meeting on 22/10/2023”

Senior Advocates N. Anandha Padmanaban and KPS. Palanivel Rajan appeared on behalf of the petitioners while Additional Advocate General Veerakathiravan and Additional Public Prosecutor R.M. Anbunithi appeared on behalf of the respondents.

The petitioners sought a writ of mandamus, directing the respondents to permit the members of RSS to conduct the procession (Route March) wearing their uniform (Dark Olive Brown Trousers, White Shirt, Cap, Belt, Blackshoes) lead by a Musical Band from Seeradi Kalaiarangam to Seeradi Kalaiarangam (Via Thagara Kottagai, Panchayat Office, Opposite to Bharat Bank, Win Gates Cool Drinks Street, Opposite to Theerar Sathya Moorthi Perumal Kovil Street, Sivan Kovil Street, Canara Bank Right Side, Malaikottai Entrance, State Bank of India Stop, New Bus Stand, Anna Hospital, Ramar Kovil Backside, Devakottai Main Road, Taluk Office, Theerar Sathya Moorthi) on October 22, 2023 at 4:00 pm and conduct a Public Meeting at Municipal Park at 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm, pursuant to their application to the respondents, dated September 19, 2023 and pass any other further or other orders.

The senior counsel for the petitioner gave the undertaking before the court in response to the apprehension made by the State. After hearing the counsels on both sides, the Court was of the opinion that there can be no total curtailment of the right of the petitioners to take out the rally, procession and public meetings. It said that the State Government can impose only reasonable restrictions as the situation demands. So, the petitioners were directed to file appropriate undertaking. On that account, the matter was adjourned.

The Court in the above context observed, “There is no possibility for giving police protection or permission, on 29/10/2023 in view of the above said events in Madurai, Ramanathapuram and Sivagangai Districts. So, it is made clear that they must conduct the event and meeting on 22/10/2023 in the permitted districts.”

The Court said that the petitioners must keep their promise and undertaking. “Hope that this undertaking given by the petitioners through their counsel will be carried by their cadres in the mind and heart throughout the event”, it said.

The Court, therefore, issued some directions to the petitioners. It ordered that during the program, nobody shall either sing songs or speak ill on any individuals, any caste, religion, etc. and that those who participate in the program shall not for any reason talk or express anything in favour of organizations banned by Government of India. It said that they should also not indulge in any act disturbing the sovereignty and integrity of our country.

“The program should be conducted without causing any hindrance to public or traffic … The participants shall not bring any stick, lathi or weapon that may cause injury to any one … The procession shall proceed in any orderly manner along the sanctioned route keeping to the left and shall not halt on the way or cause impediment to the normal flow of traffic. The procession shall occupy only one-fourth of the road … The organizer(s) shall keep sufficient volunteers to help the police for regulation of traffic and the participants”, further directed the Court.

The Court noted that the organizers shall be responsible for ensuring that the route permitted to them by the police authorities is strictly followed. It said that only box type speakers should be used and output of the speakers should not exceed 15 watts and within a radius of 30 meters only and that the cone speakers should not be used at any cost.

“In the procession, the processionists shall not any manner offend the sentiments of any religious, linguistics, cultural and other groups … An undertaking to reimburse the cost for any damage that may occur enroute to any public/private property and an undertaking to bear the compensation/replacement costs as well, if are to be awarded to any other institution/person, who may apply for the same … The petitioner(s) must accept the alternative route suggested by the respective respondents, mentioning the starting point and ending point”, also observed the Court.

The Court further issued the following more directions to the petitioners:

• The meeting must be restricted to praise their Guru and their views;

• No crackers are permitted either in the rally or in the meeting;

• The petitioners must ensure that the public movement is not affected;

• No vehicle should be permitted in the march past on the rally except one carrying photographs;

• The above said rally and meeting must be restricted to one hour each, it should not exceed totally 2 (Two hours) as undertaken by the petitioners; and

• If any violation of the conditions is noticed, the respondents/Officers are empowered to stop the rally or meeting as the case may be and strict action may be initiated against them as per law.

Accordingly, the High Court allowed the writ petitions and issued necessary directions to the petitioners.

Cause Title- K. Chandrasekar v. The Director General of Police & Ors.

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