SC defers hearing on TN’s plea challenging HC order allowing RSS to hold marches

New Delhi, Mar 17 (PTI) The Supreme Court on Friday deferred the hearing on a plea of Tamil Nadu government challenging a Madras High Court direction allowing the RSS to hold marches after the state said it had filed a fresh appeal challenging the original order.

A bench of justices V Ramasubramanian and Pankaj Mittal posted the matter for further hearing on March 27, as senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi said the state government has challenged the original order dated September 22 last year that directed the Tamil Nadu Police to consider the RSS representation and grant permission to conduct the programmes without conditions.

The counsel appearing for RSS said that the state government had in the last hearing of the matter undertook to give alternative proposals for allowing the marches.

Rohatgi said he had talked to the authorities in the state government, who informed that first they would file an appeal and then they would give alternative proposals.

The bench said the RSS counsel is not saying that the state has no right to file the appeal but that it would have been better, if the proposals are also given.

Rohatgi said that recently there were some disturbances with regard to the attack on migrants from north India on the basis of fake videos.

The bench said the issue was settled around 10 days ago.

Rohatgi said, “I request that the fresh appeal which is listed today be also taken along with another appeal challenging the order dated February 10, filed by the state government.”

The bench said it would take up the matter on March 27.

On March 3, the Tamil Nadu government had told the top court that it is not completely opposed to allowing the RSS’ route marches and public meetings across the state on March 5 but cited intelligence reports to say these cannot be held in every street or locality.

The state government sought some time to come up with a list of routes for the march.

Rohatgi had earlier told the court that the state will try to work out a solution and decide the routes it wanted the processions to take by then.

Counsel for the RSS has submitted that the state has allowed similar events by organisations like the ‘Dalit Panthers’ but the RSS was being singled out for harsh treatment.

The RSS, he has said, was allowed to conduct marches in six districts which it did.
However, it has been asked to hold the event in enclosed spaces in 42 places.

The state government, in its earlier plea before the top court, said the route march will pose a law and order problem and sought a stay on the high court order.

Setting aside the order passed on November 4, 2022 by a single judge bench which had imposed conditions on the proposed state-wide route marches asking the RSS to hold the events indoor or in enclosed space, a division bench had restored the order dated September 22, 2022 which directed the Tamil Nadu Police to consider the RSS’ representation and grant permission to conduct the programmes without conditions.

Accordingly, it had directed the RSS to approach the state authorities with three different dates of their choice for the purpose of holding the route march/peaceful procession and the state authorities were asked to grant permission to them on one of the chosen dates.

Also, the RSS was asked to ensure strict discipline and make sure there is no provocation or incitement on their part during the marches.

Challenging the single judge order, the RSS had sought a direction to the authorities to permit their members to hold the procession wearing their uniform throughout the state.

The organisation had earlier sought permission for the route march to commemorate the 75th year of Independence, the birth centenary of Bharat Ratna B R Ambedkar and Vijayadasami festival on October 2, 2022.

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