Ram Temple live screening: Record reasons for rejection, says SC to Tamil Nadu

A Supreme Court bench on Monday directed the Tamil Nadu government to give reasons while rejecting permission for live streaming of the Ram Temple consecration

The TN government is to record the number of applications submitted to livestream the ceremony, number of permissions granted and denied, with reasons (photo: National Herald archives)
The TN government is to record the number of applications submitted to livestream the ceremony, number of permissions granted and denied, with reasons (photo: National Herald archives)
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Shalini Sahay

A Supreme Court bench comprising Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Dipankar Datta ruled on Monday, 22 January that no blanket ban can be issued on religious processions and ceremonies on the ground that some other community were in a majority in the locality.

While recording the Tamil Nadu government’s claim that there was no order banning the screening of the consecration ceremony at the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, the court also took note of solicitor-general of India Tushar Mehta, who claimed otherwise.

The solicitor-general cited an "oral order" against screening in a locality with a Muslim-majority population. The counsel for the state government argued that the order may have been related to a local law and order situation. In response, the court observed that the state government had the right to regulate and also reject permission, but not issue any blanket order on the ground that members of some other community were in a majority in the area.

In case this is accepted, justice Datta observed, members of minority communities would never be able to take out religious processions in the locality. The court directed the Tamil Nadu government to record the number of applications submitted for permission to livestream the ceremony, the number of permissions granted and number of permissions denied with reasons thereof.

Meanwhile, in an advisory dated 20 January but circulated to the media today, 22 January, the Union ministry of information and broadcasting "has intimated to refrain from publishing/telecasting any content that may be false or manipulated or has the potential to disturb communal harmony or public order, in light of Ram Lalla Pran Pratishtha at Ayodhya".

Ram Temple live screening: Record reasons for rejection, says SC to Tamil Nadu
Ram Temple live screening: Record reasons for rejection, says SC to Tamil Nadu

A member of the state BJP unit had filed an application in the Supreme Court and demanded an urgent hearing on the alleged ban in Tamil Nadu on screening the ceremony "even in private temples".

The bench said the authorities would act according to the law and not on the basis of any oral instructions. Applications for permission to conduct events will be examined by the Tamil Nadu authorities as per the law and reasoned orders should be given. Tamil Nadu government said the petition was “politically motivated” and there was no such bar.

The petition filed by ‘Vinoj’, a resident of the state, prayed to “quash the order dated 20 January issued by the chief minister, whereby oral directions have been issued to the police department not to permit any kind of pujas, archanas, feeding the poor, live telecast of the pran pratishtha, bhajans and processions in the name of Lord Ram at Ayodhya in all temples in Tamil Nadu irrespective of whether it was a private temple or a temple controlled by the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments department.”

Lawyers representing the petitioner argued that “such arbitrary exercise of power by the State government [through police officers] per se violates fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution”.

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