No Jokes! SC Not to Reg­u­late Santa-Banta Puns on So­cial Me­dia

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - Sa­man­waya.Rau­tray @times­group.com

New Delhi: Af­ter months of hear­ing pe­ti­tions against so-called Santa-Banta jokes on so­cial me­dia, the Supreme Court re­frained from reg­u­lat­ing them. A top court bench led by for­mer chief jus­tice TS Thakur had agreed to look into de­mands by some mem­bers of the Sikh com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing its tem­po­ral head, the Shi­ro­mani Gu­rud­wara Pra­band­hak Com­mit­tee (SGPC), over the anti-mi­nor­ity tone of such jokes. It had sug­gested a sen­si­ti­sa­tion pro­gramme in schools to de­ter bul­ly­ing of mi­nori­ties.

A new bench of jus­tices Di­pak Misra and R Banu­mathi that be­gan hear­ings on mat­ter de­clined to set any guide­lines on the mat­ter.

“How can we lay down guide­lines and what kind of guide­lines? We are not get­ting into the con­cept of jokes and sense of hu­mour. What kind of guide­lines can we lay down on a par­tic­u­lar com­mu­nity?” Misra said. “Why should this court pass any or­der? For each re­li­gion is there a guide­line? If there is a sin­gu­lar griev­ance let the law take its own course. How does it be­come a PIL (pub­lic in­ter­est lit­i­ga­tion)? Why should the court get into it? There can be state-con­trolled guide­lines, but courts shouldn’t in­ter­fere.”

Misra, who is next in line to be chief jus­tice af­ter in­cum­bent JS Khe­har demits office in Au­gust, had ear­lier made the na­tional an­them com­pul­sory at the be­gin­ning of ev­ery movie show.

He left it to the gov­ern­ment to de­cide on the ques­tion of hu­mour. “If it is a so­ci­etal phe­nom­e­non… a psy­cho­log­i­cal phe­nom­e­non, then it is in the leg­isla­tive do­main,” Misra said. “The courts can­not lay down moral guide­lines for cit­i­zens.” Misra also won­dered whether such ju­di­cial or­der would be en­force­able. Who would en­force such a norm, who should it be is­sued to, Misra asked se­nior ad­vo­cate RS Suri who rep­re­sented the Delhi Gu­rud­wara Pra­band­hak Com­mit­tee.

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