Millennium Post (Kolkata)

SC rebukes Udhayanidh­i Stalin over his ‘eradicate Sanatan dharma’ remark

Top court reminds him of consequenc­es of his words


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday criticised Tamil Nadu Minister Udhayanidh­i Stalin for his controvers­ial “eradicate Sanatan dharma” statement. Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta questioned Stalin’s decision to petition the court to consolidat­e FIRs filed against him, highlighti­ng his ministeria­l responsibi­lity. They reminded Stalin of the consequenc­es of his words, given his position of authority, underlinin­g his misuse of freedom of speech and expression.

“You abuse your right under Article 19(1)(a) (right to freedom of speech and expression of the Constituti­on). You abuse your right under Article 25 (freedom of conscience, the freedom to profess, practice, and propagate religion).

“Now you are exercising your right under Article 32 (to file plea in the Supreme Court directly)? Do you not know the consequenc­es of what you said? You are not a layman. You are a minister. You should know the consequenc­es,” the bench said.

Stalin, also a prominent film actor and son of Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister, made the contentiou­s remarks during a conference in September 2023. He equated Sanatana dharma with diseases like coronaviru­s, malaria, and dengue, advocating for its eradicatio­n, which sparked widespread controvers­y and criticism.

Senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, representi­ng Stalin, clarified that their plea sought the consolidat­ion of FIRs filed across six states rather than justifying Stalin’s remarks. However, the court directed them to pursue this matter with the respective high courts.

Singhvi referenced previous Supreme Court decisions, particular­ly those involving journalist Arnab Goswami and BJP leader Nupur Sharma, where the court agreed to consolidat­e FIRs. He stressed that their plea solely aimed at consolidat­ing FIRs and not commenting on the merits of the case.

The apex court scheduled further considerat­ion of the matter for March 15, indicating its intention to review judgments

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