The Supreme Court today dismissed the SLPs filed by the state of Tamil Nadu and upheld the order of the Division Bench of Madras High Court directing the State Police to grant permission to RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) for conducting route marches in different parts of the State.

Pronouncing its Judgment, the Bench of Justice V. Ramasubramanian and Justice Pankaj Mithal said, "all the SLPs are dismissed".

On March 27, 2023, the Supreme Court reserved its order in the matters after hearing the parties. Senior Advocate Mukul Rohtagi appearing for the State had submitted a list of five places where the route marches can be conducted and started his submission by stating that the State is being reasonable by saying that route marches cannot be conducted in fifty places on the same day due to law and order issues and that the State is not completely against the conduct of the route marches.

Senior Advocate Mahesh Jethmalani for the respondents had submitted that there is a right to conduct the marches unless there are strong reasons. He submitted that indoor route marches are meaningless since route marches are being conducted for the public and not for the members of the organisation alone. He submitted that instances pointed out by the State are not cases of violence during the procession. He said that the RSS is the victim in the incidents highlighted by the State.

Senior Advocate Guru Krishna Kumar also appearing for the respondents submitted that law and order is the responsibility of the State. "You can say that because some may attack you, we won't permit you", he submitted, adding that over the years route marches have been conducted by the RSS and Senior Advocate Menaka Guruswamy raised the contention that at the heart of this case is the question of what is 'public order' and what is 'reasonable restrictions'.

Earlier, The Court was not inclined to accept the argument of the State of Tamil Nadu that the issue relating to alleged fake videos about attacks on north Indian migrant workers in the state is a relevant development that concerns the present case.

The State of Tamil Nadu had filed the Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court on February 21, challenging the judgment of the Division Bench of the Madras High Court which had asked the RSS to give three dates to the State Police and had asked the Police to choose one date from the three.

The Apex Court had refused to pass any interim order, despite a plea for the same by the state of Tamil Nadu.

The Division Bench of the High Court has set aside the order of the Single Judge of the Court permitting the RSS to conduct route marches across Tamil Nadu only inside compounded premises, with certain additional restrictions. “…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”, the Division Bench had said.

RSS conducts route marches on or around Vijaya Dashami Day, every year. The procession was to commemorate the founding day of the RSS, to celebrate the 75th year of Independence and the centenary of Dr B R Ambedkar.

Cause Title- K. Phanindra Reddy, I.A.S & Ors. v. G. Subramanian