Plea to ban Vairamuthu’s article on Andal

PIL makes H. Raja too as respondent as he had dragged Prophet Muhammed’s name

February 03, 2018 11:57 pm | Updated 11:57 pm IST - CHENNAI

A public interest litigation petition has been filed in the Madras High Court seeking a direction to the State government to ban the article ‘Tamizhai Andal’ penned by lyricist Vairamuthu for a Tamil daily, forfeit all copies of the article, and prevent it from being reprinted, published, circulated, marketed or sold.

The petition had been filed jointly by advocates M. Mohideen Ibrahim and G. Prabhu, painting contractor A. Victor and software engineer K.V.S. Kannan, who also claimed to be a scholar in Tamil literary work Nalayira Divya Prabandam sung by 12 Alwars of Vaishnavite philosophy.

Filing a common affidavit on behalf of all of them, Mr. Ibrahim, 45, a lawyer with four years of experience in the Bar, quoted verses from the Bhagavad Gita, Quran and the Bible and said that all religions preached oneness, universal tolerance and expected the proponents to strive to live in peace and harmony with one another.

In the present day context, though the Constitution permited healthy, constructive, honest and dignified criticism, Mr. Vairamuthu had, in the guise of praising Goddess Andal, one of the 12 Alwars, “misquoted the shrine hymns and pasurams (verses) of Annai Andal and misinterpreted the same according to his whims and fancies”, the affidavit read.

It also alleged that “defamatory” references touching upon the sanctity and religious nature of the Goddess, worshipped by crores of people, had been made by the lyricist with a “deliberate and malicious” intention. Hence, the fourth petitioner had lodged a complaint against the author with the Rajapalayam police in Virudhunagar district.

Acting on the basis of the complaint, the police registered a First Information Report against the lyricist under Sections 153A (promoting enmity on grounds of race), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings) and 505(2) (statements promoting ill will between classes) of the Indian Penal Code.

Nevertheless, since the article was freely available in the form of soft copies on the Internet as well as hard copies, the petitioners urged the High Court to issue a direction to the Home Secretary to ban the article forthwith and make sure that it did not get circulated any further besides seizing all available copies of it.

The petitioners had made Mr. Vairamuthu as well as H. Raja of the BJP also as respondents to the petition on the ground that the latter did not stop with condemning the lyricist. “He went to the level of dragging the name of Prophet Muhammed and it has aggravated the situation,” they claimed.

The petition has been listed for hearing before the first Division Bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Abdul Quddhose on Monday.

Top News Today


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.