The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked Sikh community representatives to give suggestions on what “enforceable” judicial directions can be passed to stop circulation of “Sardar jokes.”
“Your community has done very well. It has progressed a lot. But, how can we stop someone from joking about you,” a bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur asked senior advocates APS Ahluwalia and RS Suri, appearing for Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee. Both lawyers are Sikhs.
The CJI, in fact, wanted to know from the two how would they react to one of their colleagues in bar cutting a joke on them. “Even you are personally targeted through these jokes. But, have you managed to stop them?” Justice Thakur said. He pointed out that noted journalist-cum-author Khushwant Singh himself compiled jokes on the community.
However, Ahluwalia and Suri said there was a need to sensitise students not to circulate jokes that portray any community or sociological group as a “butt of jokes.” They said circulation of jokes on Sikhs, Biharis and calling people from north-eastern states by a particular term was uncalled for.
“There was a need for a change in orientation. Maybe time has come to look at a bigger and larger picture,” Suri told the bench. He agreed with the bench’s view that the community had prospered for 68 years. “We have had many leaders who were Sikhs and even a Sikh President and Prime Minister,” he said. At this, the CJI intervened and said, “You had a Sikh army chief also. Soon you will be having a Sikh as the Chief Justice of India (referring to Justice JS Khehar).”
The bench asked him, “You tell us what can possibly be done as you suggested that there was a need for sensitising.”