"You made remarks on Sanatan Dharma voluntarily, don't compare yourself with media", SC tells Udhayanidhi Stalin

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Court further asked Stalin Jr. as to why he had filed a petition before the Supreme Court under Article 32 instead of invoking Section 406 of the Code of Criminal Procedure

Asking Udhayanidhi Stalin to not cite cases where controversial remarks were made by media persons, the Supreme Court yesterday told him that his was a different case as he made the remarks on Sanatan Dharma voluntarily.

"You have made those remarks voluntarily", a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta told Stalin's counsel Senior Advocate AM Singhvi.

Singhvi had cited the case of journalists like Arnab Goswami and Mohammad Zubair while trying to make a case for consolidation of FIRs registered against Stalin Jr. in the Sanatan Dharma remarks controversy.

"In the cases you have cited news media people were working as per diktats of their bosses to get TRPs. You cannot compare yourself to the media," the court further observed.

Court also went on to direct the Tamil Nadu minister to amend his petition and file it under Section 406 (power of Supreme Court to transfer cases and appeals) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

On the last date of hearing, court had come down heavily on Tamil Nadu Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin over his remarks made on 'Sanatan Dharma'.

Observing that he being a Minister, Stalin should have known the consequences of his remark, Justice Datta had said, "You abuse your right under Article 19(1)(a) (of the Constitution). You abuse your right under Article 25. Now you are exercising your right under Article 32.. Do you not know the consequences of what you said? You are not a layman. You are a minister. You should know the consequences".

Stalin, a serving Minister in the Tamil Nadu State Government, while addressing a press conference in Chennai had stated: “Few things cannot be opposed, they should be abolished. We can’t oppose dengue, mosquitoes, malaria, or corona, we have to eradicate them. In the same way, we have to eradicate the Sanatana (Sanatan Dharma), rather than opposing it”.

The instant plea has sought to club the FIRs registered against him in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka.

Supreme Court in September last year had issued notice in a plea by a Madras High Court lawyer seeking action against Udhaynidhi Stalin for hate speech against Sanatana Dharma. While doing so, it refused to tag the case with the ongoing Haridwar hate speech petitions [Shaheen Abdulla Vs. UOI], while pointing out that the context of this case is different.

A plea has was filed in the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the police, for registering an FIR against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin's son Udhayanidhi and former Union Minister A Raja for their "derogatory remarks" and call for "eradication of Sanatan Dharma".

Case Title: Udhayanidhi Stalin vs. State of Maharashtra & Ors.