CHENNAI: Sanatan Dharma includes “a whole set of eternal duties” and “free speech cannot be hate speech”, the Madras high court has said on a petition against a college which sought students’ views on ‘Opposition to Sanatan’. The court was told the circular seeking views has since been withdrawn. Justice N Seshasayee also referred to untouchability, saying it is unconstitutional “within or outside Sanatan Dharma”.

Sanatan Dharma is a ‘whole set of eternal duties’: Madras HC
Sanatan Dharma includes “a whole set of eternal duties” and untouchability can no longer be constitutional, Madras high court noted and held that “free speech cannot be hate speech” as it heard a petition against a Tamil Nadu college which sought its students’ views on the topic “Opposition to Sanatan”.

Friday’s observations by Justice N Seshasayee come at a time state minister Udhayanidhi Stalin‘s recent speech against Sanatan Dharma has kicked up a row across the nation.

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“Sanatan Dharma includes one’s duty to the nation, duty to the king, king’s duty to his people, duty to one’s parents and gurus, care for poor and a whole lot of other duties,” the Justice said. He referred to untouchability – an issue that underpinned Udhayanidhi remarks when he clarified that he had alluded to caste biases when he compared Sanatan Dharma to diseases.
“Untouchability, either within or outside Sanatan Dharma, can no longer be Constitutional, though sadly it exists. Untouchability in a country of equal citizens cannot be tolerated, and even if it is seen as permitted somewhere within the principles of ‘Sanatan Dharma’, it cannot have a space to stay since Article 17 of Constitution has declared that untouchability has been abolished,” Justice Seshasayee observed.

The principal of Thiru Vi Ka Govt Arts College in Thiruvarur had issued the circular seeking students’ views on “Opposition to Sanatan” to mark birth anniversary of former CM CN Annadurai.

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