Kerala's Kasaragod EVM

Udhayanidhi Made Remarks Voluntarily; Can’t Claim Same Immunity As Media

Kerala's Kasaragod EVM

The Supreme Court on Monday told the Tamil Nadu minister and DMK leader Udhayanidhi Stalin that he cannot claim to be in the same position as media and news channels while seeking clubbing of multiple FIRs registered against him for his “eradicate Sanatan Dharma” remark.

“You (Stalin) have made the statements voluntarily,” said a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta.

The observation of the bench came as Stalin, while seeking the apex court’s intervention to club all the FIRs lodged against him in the matter, relied on judgements rendered by the Supreme Court in cases involving journalists such as Republic TV anchor Arnab Goswami, Mohammed Zubair, Amish Devgan and Nupur Sharma.

The bench said, “After all, you have made the statements voluntarily. And the cases you cited–those were news media people who were working as per the diktats of their bosses to get TRPs. You cannot compare yourself to the media.”

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for them highlighted the case of BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma, against whom multiple FIRs were lodged in different States and later transferred to one State.

“Nupur Sharma is a pure politician,” Singhvi told the bench.

The top court then questioned why Stalin had filed a petition before the Supreme Court under Article 32 (remedies for enforcement of fundamental rights) of the Constitution instead of invoking Section 406 (power of Supreme Court to transfer cases and appeals) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

The bench then ordered Stalin to amend his plea and file it under Section 406 CrPC and listed the matter for hearing in the week commencing on May 6.

Earlier, the apex court frowned upon Stalin over his remarks calling for the eradication of ‘Sanatana Dharma’ and told him that he is “not a layman but a minister” and he should know the consequences of his remarks.

“You abuse your rights under freedom of speech and expression and right to freedom of religion and then come to Supreme Court for protection under Article 32? Do you not know the consequences of what you said?,” the bench had asked Stalin’s counsel.

Stalin approached the apex court seeking clubbing of multiple FIRs registered against him in several states over his remarks.

He sought relief from the top court to club all the FIRs, saying FIRs are registered in Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir and Maharashtra.

DMK leader Stalin made remarks comparing ‘Sanatana Dharma’ to diseases like ‘malaria’ and ‘dengue’ while advocating for its elimination on the grounds that it was rooted in the caste system and historical discrimination.

His remarks triggered a massive political controversy across the country. It led to several criminal complaints being filed against him. (ANI)

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