Jokes on Sikh Community: Cannot pass orders about an individual or a community says SC
 Source : News Bharati English  Date : 08-Feb-2017

New Delhi, February 8: We often read and hear the pun surrounding Sikh community people Supreme Court on Tuesday said that curbing the circulation of such jokes falls under the realm of legislature. Hence Supreme Court won’t issue the directions regarding the circulation of jokes about the Sikh community.Expressing its inability to curb the circulation it stated that Supreme Court cannot lay down their moral guidelines for the citizens. A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra and Justice R. Banumathi said that "If it is a societal or psychological phenomenon, it is for the legislature to intervene. We can't lay down moral guidelines for the citizens".

Supreme Court said that it will only issue directions when the dignity of human is violated by the State. When asked about its stand on the issues affecting human dignity SC said that "we don't intend to render a judgment. Your focus is somewhere else; your prayers are somewhere else. If human dignity is violated by the State or its instrumentalities or anyone amenable to its jurisdiction”, the court said it cannot pass orders about an individual or a community.”

The bench said that Sikh is a highly respected community but "you are bringing it down by fighting litigation to ban jokes.” The bench asked senior counsel R.S. Suri to address the court on the issue in view of its jurisdictional constraints in passing directions for issuance of guidelines being sought by the petitioners. The court fixed March 27 as the next date of hearing.

Reverting to it, Suri said that family units are increasingly becoming nuclear and the constant stereotyping of the community has negative repercussions. Pointing out that the “social problem” is becoming acute; Suri said that “It can be Sikh or any other community.”

Advocate Harvinder Chowdhury told the court that joke is different thing, but making a joke of a community is altogether different. “I am talking of human dignity.”

The  Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Community SGPC in its petition sought direction to the Telecom Ministry to install filters to screen websites which target Sikh community with indecent, offensive and oppressive jokes of the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code. Besides this, the SGPC sought direction to the website owners to pay adequate compensation to the National Legal Service Authority for having caused damages to the reputation and dignity of the Sikh community.

Pointing to the difficulties being faced by the community, the SGPC in its petition contended that even before a Sikh child faces an actual competition, he/she has to get over the stereotype of his/her image.

The SGPC urged the court to decide “whether such acts of circulation of funny jokes on Sikhs, amounts to violation of their fundamental right to live with dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution; their right of equality under Article 14 of the Constitution; and their right to profess and propagate their religion, as provided in Article 25 of the Constitution”.