Chennai: Madras High Court on Monday dismissed the plea against Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi (VCK) leader and MP from Chidambaram constituency Dr Thol. Thirumavalavan regarding his Manusmriti remarks.
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) moved by S Kasiramalingam sought disqualification proceedings against the MP for his remarks on Manusmriti while participating in a webinar 'Periyar and Indian Politics' last month.
Kasiramalingam alleged that Thirumavalavan made adverse statements against women and misinterpreted Manusmriti, one of the oldest religious texts. The plea also claimed that Thirumalavanviolated the oath which he had taken while assuming office as Member of Parliament.
"Manusmriti is a 2000-year-old ancient text which can be interpreted and is not a statute book to be read in a particular way. What is the infraction of statutory provision? Code of ethics is not mandatory and cannot be imposed." remarked the judicial bench of Justices M Satyanarayanan and R Hemalatha who heard the PIL.
"Everyone has freedom of expression. Thirumavalavan has interpreted Manusmriti in his way. What can we do for that?" asked the Court.
Advocate R C Paul Kanagaraj representing the petitioner S Kasiramalingam said, "Thirumavalavan's speech created unrest and provocation in Tamil Nadu. He didn't stop by his speech. Later he held statewide protests demanding a ban on Manusmriti which was penned over 2000 years ago."
The High Court took note about the law and order situation of the state and urged representatives to act responsibly.
"If the freedom of speech and expression goes beyond morality and decency then the state is bound to take action," Court added.
While speaking to Madhyamam, S S Balaji, VCK Deputy General Secretary welcomed Court's order and said, "One thing which is clear from the Court's observation is Manusmriti is not a needful law book. VCK wants to propagate that the out-dated Hindu text is not the law of the land. It is overruling the Indian constitutional provisions,"
"High Court's verdict brings hope and encouragement to us in the fight against Hindutva terror. Whatever Thirumavalavan mentioned in the webinar is included in Manusmriti and women in Tamil Nadu are well aware that what he had mentioned is quoted from Manusmriti. He tried to criticize the misogynistic points and did not glorify it." he added.