Voice of the oppressed to be listened and remedied: Madras High Court

A view of the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court   | Photo Credit: ASHOK R


Voice of the oppressed though expressed in the form of criticism is not meant to be oppressed and criminalised. But to be listened to, discussed, addressed and remedied, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has observed.

“No doubt none is beyond criticism, and the Indian Constitution recognises criticism up to the level of decency and morality. It is also equally seen that no purpose is going to be served by going through history and criticising kings and monarchs for the evils of today,” the court said while quashing an FIR registered against filmmaker Pa. Ranjith.

Justice G. Ilangovan quashed the FIR on November 12 (which The Hindu reported). The full copy of the order was made available on Monday.

Ranjith was booked for his remarks on King Raja Raja Cholan at an event organised by Neelapuligal Movement in Thanjavur district in 2019. The filmmaker sought to quash of the FIR registered by Thiruppanandal police in Thanjavur district.

Ranjith contended that the speech was about erasing casteism and aimed at creating a casteless society. His intention was not to hurt the sentiments of any community. But, to voice support of marginalised people. The speech was also about how people became landless.

Justice Ilangovan observed that the caste system, its formation, effects and ill-effects are one of the most discussed topics, which has been spoken ever since its inception in history.

The judge said history shows that what started to indicate the classification of people on the basis of profession or avocation became geneticised, paving way for the suppression of one group of the society.

This paved the way for creating a society consisting of landless poor making them a 'class' of themselves. The ill-effects of such a sort of classification of people and society were felt and revolted from its inception, as we see through the ages of history.

Remedial measures were taken in the form of socio-economic and political reforms, through democratic process. “We, the people of India'' in the preamble of the Indian Constitution signifies the duties, obligation of society as a whole, to promote fraternity by assuring all with dignity.

The soul of the Constitution wants to heal the wounds of the oppressed by uplifting them to the level of brotherhood. Quoting B.R. Ambedkar, the judge observed that unless the society is lifted to the level of fraternity, it cannot be called as a nation as a whole in reality.

The court said that remedial measures like land, social and economic reforms were introduced. When the Constitution demands such an act on the part of the State, it should not intend to penalise or criminalise the voice of the oppressed though expressed in the form of criticism.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 2:21:56 PM |

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