The Madras High Court has declined to quash criminal proceedings initiated against RS Bharathi, the organising secretary of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) for his speech made last year, in which he had allegedly made disrespectful comments against members of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) as well as SC/ST High Court Judges.
The prosecution had alleged that the petitioner had organised an event in which he and the other leaders of the party had addressed the audience of more than 100 numbers consisting of party members, the media and general public. The accused RS Bharati had made disrespectful remarks against the members of the oppressed class stating that the appointment of Justice A.Varadharajan, who belongs to a so-called “lower” caste, and other eight appointments of lower caste judges of High Court, were at “the alms rendered by the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.”
In the same event, he also drew parallels with Madhya Pradesh High Court which had no “harijan” judges whereas in Tamil Nadu, “7 or 8 members of the Schedule Caste were made as High Court Judges by the alms rendered by the Dravidian Progressive Federation.”
Taking his comments on record, Justice N. Sathish Kumar said, “When the allegations put against the accused carefully perused, the remarks made by the accused prima facie show that he has remarked that the people, except in Tamil Nadu, are idiots.”
With regards to the statements made for Justice Varadharajan and eight other so-called “lower” caste judges who were appointed at the alms rendered by the DMK, the court held that, “The statements prima facie indicates the allegations targeted against Scheduled Caste. This Court restrains itself from expressing any views as to whether such utterance attracts the offence or not.”
Justice Kumar also observed that such a statement “leads inference as if except the alms rendered by the Dravidian Progressive Federation, the members from Scheduled Caste would not have become a Judge of the High Court. It is nothing but a humiliation and insult to the oppressed community. The entire statements made by the person are not in good taste. On the other hand, under the guise of freedom guaranteed under the Constitution, the persons claiming to be public leaders are spitting venom against opponents. It has become routine affairs. Such debate is not good for society or the younger generation. The leaders are required to engage with an intellectual debate and not on personal grudge.”
Hence, the court decided to not quash any criminal proceedings against Bharathi as his remarks have been made in public view and not only against the persons holding high posts but also some other retired Judges stating that they have become judges only at the alms rendered by the Dravidian Progressive Federation, “which prima facie insult and humiliate such people.”
The order may be read here: