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Madras HC Directs TN Government to Grant Permission to RSS to Hold its Route March on November 6

4 min read
Madras High court law insider

Khushi Bajpai

Published on: October 1, 2022 at 18:52 IST

After the state government argued that it could not permit any procession on October 2 as originally planned by the Sangh due to law and order issues, the Madras High Court on Friday directed the Tamil Nadu Police to grant permission to the RSS to hold its route march in 50 places in the state on November 6.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) was given permission by the Tamil Nadu police on Friday to march across 49 locations, and the Madras High Court warned to take legal action against the authorities if they disobeyed the order.

Even though a single judge bench of the court on September 22 issued its approval with some conditions for the march, the state government on Thursday denied to grant permission for the march, which was initially slated for October 2. Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday falls on October 2.

The government refused to allow the march, citing law-and-order concerns in the wake of recent violence that erupted after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) raided the now-banned Popular Front of India (PFI) on September 22 and 27 and arrested several of its members.

Justice G K Ilanthiraiyan, who had passed the order on the rally last month, was listening to a contempt of court petition by R Karthikeyan, joint secretary of RSS’s Thiruvallur unit, on Friday when it directed the state government and police to give permission and inform the court about the same by October 31.

In his petition, Karthikeyan pointed out that denial of permission to hold the march was against the high court order.

The judge cautioned that the court would consider the contempt application and issue orders if no decision was made or permission was not granted.

“I understand that Gandhi Jayanthi Day, which falls on October 2, is of concern to you. The event can go on as scheduled on November 6 in that situation”, the judge ruled.

Prior to this, Hasan Mohammed Jinnah, the state’s public defender, had informed the judge that after September 22 there were around 52,000 police officers on the streets to safeguard people’s lives and liberties owing to problems like NIA raids, petrol bomb assaults, and the ban on PFI.

Following the crackdown on the PFI, there have been numerous reports of petrol bomb attacks in the state against members of the RSS and Bharatiya Janata Party.

Law and order issues can never be a justification for withholding permission, according to senior counsel G Rajagopalan and advocate B Rabu Manohar, who represented the RSS. They made this claim using a Supreme Court decision. They claimed that the top court had made it quite plain that it was up to the authorities to uphold law and order.

The RSS was represented by senior counsel S Prabakaran, who asserted that the organization need not suffer as a result of the PFI prohibition.

When referring to the September 22 order, attorney Manohar remarked, “Our point was that when a high court has issued a good instruction, how can an inspector of police not follow it…they are unable to obey a court order.”

Senior attorney NR Elango, speaking on behalf of the state, stated that the government had received intelligence inputs from the Center regarding potential law and order issues in light of the PFI-related actions.

The state cannot take any chances with the protection of the general public because their lives are of the utmost importance, according to Elango.

However, the attorney stated that police would be open to granting clearance on any day other than Gandhi Jayanthi on October 2.

The judge ordered the police to grant authorization on November 6 after the RSS provided four alternate dates, and the contempt petition was postponed until October 31.

The court agreed with the state administration over the security situation before recommending the new date, stating that he was keeping an eye on the situation on the ground and any potential threats as a result of the action taken against PFI.

Justice Ilanthiraiyan held off on making a decision on a plea to recall the ruling on the march from September 22 that was submitted by MP and VCK leader Thol Thirumavalan earlier in the day.

In order to protest the RSS march on October 2, VCK, a supporter of the governing Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), requested permission for a “social peace” human chain, which the government also rejected.

The judge advised Thirumavalavan to submit his appeal to the Supreme Court.

When the writ petition from the Lok Sabha member came up for hearing, the judge remarked that the apex court is the appropriate venue to handle the matter.

After seeing Sylendra Babu, Director General of Police for Tamil Nadu, Thirumavalan reported:

“The DGP stated he will discuss with his department and let us know.”

He claimed that there was a purpose behind the RSS choosing October 2 for their march.

For a reconsideration of the order from September 22, the state administration has submitted a petition on September 27.