The Madras High Court has refused to grant permission for a conclave on the “eradication of Dravidian ideology”, saying that the co-existence of multiple belief systems is part of India’s identity.

Justice G Jayachandran, in its order on October 31, said that no one has the right to conduct meetings calling for the eradication of any ideology.

The High Court passed the order in response to a petition by a man named Magesh Karthikeyan, who demanded that the bench should direct the police to allow an event on “Dravidian ideologies and other social issues”.

The court questioned why the Tamil Nadu Police did not act against members of the state’s ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam who had allegedly made inflammatory remarks at a conclave on the “eradication of Sanatana Dharma”.

Sanatana Dharma is a term some people use as a synonym for Hinduism.

Justice Jayachandran said that those in power should “realise the danger of speech unflaring fissiparous tendency” and refrain from spreading views that divide people in the name of ideology, caste and religion.

“Instead they may concentrate on eradicating intoxicating drinks and drugs which are [injurious] to health, corruption, untouchability and other social evil,” he added.

The court said that if it were to accept the petitioner’s request, it would further disturb peace. It remarked that people “are already fed up by the way some of the fringe groups in support of persons who have taken oath of office to preserve the spirit of Constitution, act in breach of their oath”.

The judge said: “No one can expect courts to aid them to propagate ideas to create ill-will among the public. Some members of the ruling party and ministers participated in the meeting held for eradicating ‘Sanatana Dharma’ and no action has been taken by the police against them which is dereliction of duty on the part of the police.”

In September, Tamil Nadu minister Udhayanidhi Stalin, the son of the state’s Chief Minister MK Stalin, had said that the Sanatana Dharma is akin to dengue and malaria, and should hence be annihilated.

Udhayanidhi Stalin’s comments had triggered a nationwide controversy, with two first information reports filed in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh against him.