Supreme Court Dismisses Plea Against Alleged Racially Discriminatory Videos In Social Media Against People Of North-East
The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking to frame guidelines against racial discrimination faced by the people of the North-Eastern States of India.
The plea also sought suspension of accounts of users who has previously made videos on racial discrimination from their platform and circulated the said video through the same platform.
A bench comprising CJI DY Chandrachud and Justice P S Narasimha said in the order, "It is well settled that a mandamus cannot be issued to a law making body to frame legislation. The second relief pertains to the domain of education policy. Insofar as the third relief is concerned, an individual, aggrieved by a racially discriminatory video on a social media platform, would be at liberty to pursue remedies as available in law".
While the first prayer in the petition was for a mandamus to form guidelines/law on racial discrimination faced by the people of northeast states, the second was for "directions to the Concerned Ministry to insert relevant chapters in all NCERT Books (Class VI-VIII) namely Geography, History, Demography and Culture & Heritage of States of North East separately" and the third was about videos on social media.
"Including chapters in history and geography pertains to policy and I believe we should teach them (children) as little as possible and stop overloading them with information. Every ill in society does not merit court intervention. You should move to your Member of Parliament. These are policy issues." CJI had said during the hearing.
The petitioner-in-person Jyoti Zongluju, a practicing lawyer in the Supreme Court had contended, "We have faced so much racial discrimination".
The plea sought to issue directions to the concerned Ministry to insert relevant chapters in all NCERT Books (Class VI-VIII) namely Geography, History, Demography, and Culture & Heritage of States of North East separately.
Further, the PIL sought implementation of the M.P. Bezbaruah Committee report which recommended the insertion of relevant sections in the Indian Penal Code. CJI said, "You want us to make changes in IPC provisions. We cannot do that. The plea is dismissed."
The M.P. Bezbaruah Committee in 2014 recommended amendments to the IPC by creating new offences under Section 153C and 509A to deal with comments, gestures or acts intended to insult a member of a particular racial group. It also suggested making such offences as 'gender neutral', 'cognizable' and 'non-bailable' with imprisonment extendable up to three years or five years with a fine, respectively.
"To issue a writ, order or direction in the nature of mandamus, directing (Youtube) Respondent No. 4 to immediately suspend/ban the accounts of their users, who has previously made videos on racial discrimination from their platform and circulated the said video through same platform", the plea sought.
"India is a country that has always been identified through its motto of 'unity in diversity.' However, at the same time, one can clearly see it as being divided amongst two countries in itself, due to the exclusion faced by North-Eastern Communities in their own country which is a clear violation of Articles 14, 15, and 16 of the Constitution", the plea said.
Cause Title- Jyoti Zongluju v. Union of India