Do Sardars feel bad about the Santa-Banta jokes on them? If so, the Supreme Court on Monday said, it would seriously consider examining a plea to ban websites displaying jokes on them.
“If we think that your community does feel bad about it, we will definitely seriously consider it,” a bench comprising chief justice TS Thakur and justices AK Sikri and R Banumathi said.
“Does your community stand by you?” the bench asked Sikh woman lawyer Harvinder Chowdhary, who had filed a PIL in this regard.
She said the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) had also filed a petition on the issue and they were engaging a battery of senior advocates, including Ram Jethmalani, to argue the matter.
While the woman advocate was making submissions, the bench intervened and asked additional solicitor general (ASG) PS Patwalia, who is a Sikh, to express his views. However, before he could say anything, the woman lawyer continued to make submissions in a high pitch, prompting the ASG to comment that “she is getting over-excited”.
Later, at the end of the proceedings, Patwalia said, “We have taken the things seriously.”
The bench said the matter would be heard along with the petition of the DSGMC. During the hearing, the bench wanted to know from the woman lawyer as to “who will determine that a particular joke is derogatory”.
She also had reservation about the jokes and outspoken comments of noted Sikh author Khushwant Singh. The bench stopped the lawyer from going ahead saying she should keep her submissions reserved for the main hearing.
During the last hearing on October 30 last year, the bench had said, “This (Sikh) community is known for a great sense of humour and they also enjoy such jokes. You must have gone through the jokes of Khushwant Singh...
“This is only an amusement. Why do you want it to be stopped?...Prepare your case well. We will hear you,” the bench had said.
The PIL had said that there are more than 5,000 websites that display jokes on Sardars projecting the community in poor light.
Chowdhury has sought direction to the telecom ministry to filter websites that target the Sikh community on the grounds that they violate Sections 153-A and 153-B of the Indian Penal Code.
“All jokes relating to Sikh community should be stopped. My children are humiliated and feel embarrassed and they don’t want to suffix the words ‘Singh’ and ‘Kaur’ with their names,” Chowdhury had claimed.
DSGMC for law on lines of anti-bullying law
Chandigarh: DSGMC president Manjit Singh GK on Monday demanded the enactment of a law on the pattern of the anti-bullying law in European countries to stop jokes on racial and religious lines. “Not only jokes on Sikhs, the DSGMC would also seek a ban on jokes on all religions and regions, like Gujarati and Bihari jokes and those on north-eastern communities.”
The DSGMC president said he would soon meet Union minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju to seek his support on this. GK said certain organisations were making huge profits by running websites on Sikh jokes, which should be banned immediately.