The Supreme Court, today, declined to pass any orders in a Contempt Petition filed against Udaynidhi Stalin, a state Minister and the son of Tamil Nadu's Chief Minister based on his statement advocating for the complete eradication of Sanatana Dharma, drawing a parallel with efforts to eradicate diseases like Dengue, Malaria, and Covid.

The bench comprising Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice S.V.N. Bhatti was dealing with a batch of matters related to instances of hate speeches in the country. Among these matters, was listed the Contempt Petition filed by Advocate Amita Sachdeva, represented by Advocate-on-Record Vishnu Shankar Jain, seeking action against Udaynidhi Stalin for the alleged hate speech delivered during the Sanatana Dharma Eradication Conference held in Tamil Nadu.

Vishnu Shankar Jain submitted during the hearing, "I filed a contempt petition against Udaynidhi Stalin for his remarks." However, Justice Khanna objected to the Petition and said, "The contempt petition will not lie here. Please go to the High Court."

Jain continued to argue and highlighted that the Court had previously considered similar cases. He specifically referenced a hate speech case related to the Hindu Yuva Vahini event organized under the leadership of Sudarshan News TV editor Suresh Chavhanke in Delhi in December. In that case, a petition had been filed in the Supreme Court seeking action against the News Channel editor.

"The instances of hate speech are in teeth of the Court's order. When a similar case was filed, the Court had issued notice. See the Sudarshan news channel case. In the same instances, the Court has issued notice" submitted Jain.

Refusing to entertain, Justice Khanna further stated, "The contempt petition will not lie in this petition (plea against hate speech). If we start entertaining contempt, we will be flooded with it. We are making it very clear, we will not go into individual cases."

"Lordships are already flooded", replied Jain. However, Justice Khanna stated, "Leave it at this stage, we are very clear that if we go into the individual cases then there will be others who will come up with the same plea." The Bench further clarified, "Hate speech has been defined by this Court, the question is of implementation and understanding how it is to be applied as to on which cases it is to be applied and on which it has not be applied. We cannot go into individual cases."

The Court further asked Jain to pursue his other remedies. "Please, take recourse to action which you want to", stated Justice Khanna.

Chipping in Senior Advocate Pravin Parekh submitted, "FIRs are not being lodged and implementation on the ground of the directions is very minimal." The Court on this aspect opined, "Till we get all the States on Board it will be difficult for us to issue directions. We must first have the information on Nodal officers. We can't do it in piecemeal".

Advocate Nizam Pasha also added, "The difficulty that we need to address is that when the same person who has made hate speeches in the past and FIRs have been registered, ask for permission to conduct speeches and are granted permissions. They are repeated offenders."

The Bench further refusing to go into individual cases clarified, "We are not passing any orders but what we intend to do, we have already explained to you because if we start entertaining Writ Petition under Article 32, maybe in some exception matter we may have to sometimes, but if we start doing it we will have to do it across the board."

The Court also stated, "We can't deal with individual aspects, what we want to do is put the infrastructure or mechanism in place and if there is any breach or problem, then you will have to go to the respective High Court. We cannot do pan India over here, it will be impossible. The question is do we have enough administrative machinery in place to take action wherever required and also keep a check on it? Society must know that if you indulge in it then there will be some state action."

"And action against state officials?", asked Hedge. Responding, Justice Khanna stated, "That will be also done by respective High Courts. We can't do it across the Country. Then every day we will hear one application."

The Court accordingly ordered the appointment of 2 Advocate-on-Records as nodal counsels from each side to prepare a chart indicating the name of Petitioners, Respondents and the prayers made. The Court also granted liberty to the counsels to file suggestions.

"As a large number of applications/Writ Petitions are pending before this Court. We deem it appropriate to appoint Nodal Counsel. List in the week commencing 5th February 2024", ordered the Court.

Recently, the Bench of Justice Aniruddha Bose and Justice Bela M. Trivedi issued notice in the writ petition filed against the "Sanatana Dharma Eradication Conference" held in Tamil Nadu.

Cause Title: Amita Sachdeva Vs. Udhaynidhi Stalin [Diary No.- 41872 - 2023]