Saturday, July 16, 2016

Judicial proceedings on RSS representatives of Tiruvannamalai stayed


In all the district headquarters of Tamilnadu, RSS Route Marches were planned to mark the beginning of celebrations of 1000th Coronation Year of King Rajendra Chola on 9th Nov.2014. Permission was sought from Police for taking out Route Marches. As Police refused permission in 7 centres, a writ was filed in Madras High Court and the Hon’ble High Court passed orders directing the Police to grant permission to RSS to take out procession in the routes specified and to hold public meeting in the places earmarked with such reasonable restrictions as they deem fit and proper. Instead of denying permission, the Police laid the following restrictions for taking out the procession. 1) The procession and the public meeting should not be conducted in uniform resembling that of armed forces of the union or police forces. 2) The members of the procession should not carry any lathi/stick or any other offensive weapons with them at the time of the procession and public meeting. 3) The members of the procession should not carry band/drum/musical instruments while going in procession or conducting a public meeting. Immediately, the Advocate, representing RSS, issued a notice to the Secretary to Home Department, Director General of Police and Commissioner of Police stating that any attempt made by the authorities misinterpreting the order of the Hon’ble High Court especially para 20 would attract contempt proceedings. The Hon’ble High Court had stated regarding Sangh Uniform as follows: “Arguments were advanced on both sides on the question as to whether the Khaki half-trouser and the white shirt worn by the volunteers of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, resemble the uniform of the armed forces of the Union of the police force. Apart from the fact that no member of the police force today wear half-trousers, the question is of no relevance to the cases on hand, since Section 41-A does not deal with the holding of processions but it deals only with drill, training or assembly. It is claimed that the Uniform that the volunteers wear, was designed way back in 1920s. Therefore, the Respondents appear to have raised a bogey, in the form of such an objection and they have taken recourse to a wrong provision of law. Hence, on a pure and simple question of law, the impugned orders are liable to be set aside.” In spite of the notice the Police authorities have uniformly denied permission for taking out Route Marches in Tamilnadu in Sangh Uniform. Therefore, RSS decided to defy the restriction of wearing of uniform and proceed with Route Marches as planned. It is pertinent to state here that the Sangh has agreed for other restrictions imposed by the Police. As a result, the Swayamsevaks/well-wishers including women courted arrest in all district headquarters aggregating a total of more than 35000. All the arrested were released after some time. However, only Police of Tiruvannamalai District registered a case against the RSS District Secretary, Town Secretary and District Organiser (Pracharak) on 9th November, 2014 under sections 143 and 188 IPC. , calling the RSS rally an unlawful assembly alleging that they had violated rally conditions imposed by Police. When the case came up for hearing on 14.07.16, the Madras high court stayed all further proceedings. Justice P N Prakash, concurring with the submissions of RSS counsel and senior Central Government Standing Counsel Rabu Manohar, admitted the petition and stayed the criminal proceedings pending before the judicial magistrate-I in Tiruvannamalai district. A peaceful procession was carried out by the RSS and the uniform had been in use all over the country for more than 90 years, Rabu Manohar said, adding that viewing from any angle the charge under Section 188 (violating orders of a public servant) was not made out. The allegation of unlawful assembly under Section 143 too was not made out, as it would hold well only if it was an assembly of five or more persons. The final report filed before the magistrate had only three names, he said, adding that there was no danger likely to be caused to human life, health or safety and there was no situation of riot created by the RSS rally, Rabu Manohar argued. The condition imposed by the district police noting that RSS cadre should not wear their uniform was totally unsustainable, he said. Seeking quashing of the case, he said the RSS office-bearers should not be made to go through the ordeal of trial.

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