Supreme Court reserves order on TN plea against HC directing state police to allow RSS route marches

A bench reserved the order as the Tamil Nadu government told the court that neither everything can be banned nor everything can be allowed.

BySouth First Desk

Published Mar 27, 2023 | 5:54 PMUpdatedMar 27, 2023 | 5:54 PM


The Supreme Court on Monday, 27 March, reserved an order on the Tamil Nadu government’s plea challenging the February 10, 2023 Madras High Court order permitting Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) public programmes including route marches in the state.

A bench of Justice V Ramasubramanian and Justice Pankaj Mithal reserved the order as the Tamil Nadu government told the court that neither everything can be banned nor everything can be allowed.

Tamil Nadu government had also appealed to the Supreme Court against the November 2022 order of the Madras High Court.

Related: TN files fresh petition in Supreme Court relating to RSS route march

‘No absolute right’

Appearing for the Tamil Nadu government, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi said that there is no absolute right to hold a programme, and the same is subject to restrictions by the police being responsible for maintaining law and order.

In a poser, he said how could there be a direction that route marches can be taken out wherever desired.

Appearing for RSS functionary G Subramanian from Chennai, senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani said that the Tamil Nadu government was not allowing the route marches on the apprehension that they may come under attack.

Jethmalani said that because of the apprehension of someone else’s specious conduct, fundamental rights cannot be regimented in this fashion. He said that similar programmes in the past have passed off peacefully, and there were no complaints.

Related: TN tells SC, not opposed to RSS gathering, but with conditions

Questions status report

Senior Advocate Maneka Guruswamy, appearing for the RSS questioned the status report filed by the Tamil Nadu government, asking whether public order and reasonable restrictions be reduced to a state where RSS processions can be permitted only in an enclosed ground.

The court was hearing the Tamil Nadu government’s appeal against the Madras High Court order permitting RSS to take out its route march in the state.

On 10 February, Madras High Court directed Tamil Nadu police to grant permission to RSS to take route marches in various districts across the state on public roads.

In the last hearing, the Tamil Nadu government had told the court that it was not opposed to RSS holding its programmes in the state but it cannot be without restrictions and that in certain areas the proposed route marches and gatherings cannot be permitted.