The Madras High Court on Friday told the Tamil Nadu government to grant permission to a march by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and remarked that the government must uphold citizens’ right to free speech, Live Law reported.
On November 4, Justice GK Ilanthiraiyan had asked the organisation to hold the march indoors or in an enclosed space.
A division bench comprising Justices R Mahadevan and Mohammed Shaffiq on Friday set aside the single judge’s order. It directed the RSS to file fresh applications proposing three dates on which the march could be held and told the police to grant permission on any one of the dates, according to Bar and Bench.
The High Court said that the organisation must follow strict discipline and not resort to any provocation during the event.
The bench said that protests and marches by citizens are essential for a healthy democracy.
“We are of the view that State authorities must act in a manner that upholds citizens’ freedom of speech and expression, which is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution,” the court said. “The State’s approach to a citizen’s rights can never be adversarial in a welfare state.”
NL Rajah, representing the RSS, had told the court that marches are an acceptable manner of exercising freedom of speech and questioned how a procession could be held indoors.
On the other hand, senior advocate NR Elango, representing the Tamil Nadu government, argued that it was the duty of the state government to maintain law and order. He said that permission for the march was denied in order to ensure the safety of members of the Hindutva organisation.