A Letters Patent Appeal (LPA) has been filed in the Madras High Court, challenging an order passed by a single judge who, on November 4, permitted the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to take out route marches and public meetings at 41 places across Tamil Nadu only on premises with compound walls.
Since the order was passed on a batch of contempt of court petitions filed by the RSS office-bearers against the Home Secretary, Director General of Police and other police officers and a contempt appeal could be filed only if contemnors had been punished, the office-bearers have chosen to file an LPA.
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In his grounds of appeal, G. Subramanian of Chennai pointed out that the single judge had initially directed the police to grant permission for the route marches and public meetings in 50 places across the State on October 2.
The order was passed on September 22, while allowing a batch of writ petitions. The police, however, denied permission for the route marches and the public meetings on October 2, citing the ban imposed by the Centre on Muslim organisation the Popular Front of India.
Hence, all 50 RSS office-bearers filed individual contempt of court petitions against the Home Secretary and others. The police too had filed review petitions against the September 22 order.
When the contempt and review petitions were listed on November 4, the judge took note that the police had granted permission for the marches and meetings only in Kallakurichi, Perambalur and Cuddalore districts on November 6.
He further found that there was a serious objection to grant of permission in six other places – Coimbatore city, Pollachi and Mettupalayam in Coimbatore district; Palladam in Tiruppur district; and Nagercoil and Arumanai in Kanniyakumari district — since they appeared to be sensitive locations, pursuant to the October 23 Coimbatore car blast.
The judge, however, did not find any justification with respect to denying permission for the route marches and public meetings in rest of the 41 places.
On the order that the events must be conducted only on premises with compound walls even in the 41 places, the appellant said such a restriction was uncalled for.
He said there was no justification in imposing restrictions on RSS alone when the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi was granted permission for a human chain protest on October 11 and the ruling DMK was granted permission for an anti-Hindi agitation on October 15 and November 4. Naam Tamilar Katchi too was granted permission for a anti-Hindi protest on November 1.
Therefore, RSS too must be permitted to take out the route marches on public roads and hold public meetings as it had been permitted to do in many places, including Jammu and Kashmir, across the country on October 2, he said.