DMK MP R.S. Bharathi has insulted Scheduled Castes, says Madras High Court

Judge dismisses legislator’s plea to quash criminal case against him for speech

February 27, 2021 10:20 am | Updated February 28, 2021 01:51 am IST

CHENNAI The Madras High Court has observed that Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) organising secretary and Member of Parliament R.S. Bharathi prima facie “humiliated and insulted” people belonging to the Scheduled Castes by claiming that their rise to higher positions in the judiciary was nothing but “alms” provided by former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi.

Also read: DMK leader R.S. Bharathi’s disparaging comments about Dalits, Brahmins trigger row

Justice N. Sathish Kumar said so while dismissing a petition filed by the MP to quash a criminal case booked against him at the Teynampet police station, Chennai, for a speech made by him at a closed-door meeting organised by Kalaignar Reading Circle on February 15, 2020. The judge directed the trial court to expedite the proceedings and conduct hearing on a day-to-day basis.

The judge agreed with advocate V. Raghavachari, representing complainant Kalyanasundaram, that the allegations levelled against the MP were serious in nature since the speech delivered by him was clearly an insult to the people belonging to the oppressed class and therefore the case should not be quashed at the threshold without directing the accused to face trial.

“When the allegations against the accused are carefully perused, the speech made by the accused prima facie shows that he has remarked that the people, except in Tamil Nadu, are idiots. He has stated that till now, no one from the Schedule Caste became a judge of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh. Only his leader Karunanidhi made Mr. Varadharajan, who belongs to a Scheduled Caste, as a judge of High Court of Madras.

“Similarly, seven or eight judges from the Scheduled Caste were also appointed at the alms rendered by the Dravidian Progressive Federation (sic)…”

The statements are not in good taste. Intellectual debates have been forgotten by the so-called leaders. On the other hand, under the guise of freedom guaranteed under the Constitution, people claiming to be public leaders are spitting venom against opponents,” the order read.

Also recording State Public Prosecutor A. Natarajan’s submission that the police had so far examined 30 witnesses and collected several documents too in connection with the case, the judge said whether the speech would attract the provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989 could be determined only after appreciation of evidence by a special court for hearing cases booked against legislators.

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