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Thursday, Aug 22, 2019

SC to hear PIL demanding ban on websites with ‘Santa Banta’ jokes

Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking direction to ban websites displaying jokes on Sardars and projecting them in a poor light.

india Updated: Oct 30, 2015 23:48 IST
Bhadra Sinha
Bhadra Sinha
Hindustan Times
Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a PIL seeking a ban on websites displaying ‘Santa Banta’ jokes.
Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a PIL seeking a ban on websites displaying ‘Santa Banta’ jokes. (Mohd Zakir/ HT File Photo)

The “Santa and Banta” jokes seem to have come under judicial scanner with a Sikh woman advocate moving the Supreme Court seeking a direction to ban over 5,000 websites flashing such content, saying it hurts the community’s sentiment.

Petitioner Harvinder Chowdhury contended the “funny jokes” projected Sikhs as “unintelligent”, “foolish”, “naïve”, “inept”, nor well versed with English language. Such jokes violated the community’s fundamental right to life and to live with dignity guaranteed under Article 21, the petitioner argued.

The PIL generated giggles in the courtroom as an amused bench of justices TS Thakur and V Gopal Gowda suggested that the petition be sent to a bench headed by justice JS Kehar, a Sikh.

Sikhs were known for their “great sense of humour”, the bench said. “They (Sikhs) also enjoy the jokes. Even Kushwanth Singh used to write jokes and wrote a book,” the bench said.

As the petitioner insisted she should be heard, the bench agreed to keep the matter with itself for a possible hearing after a month. It permitted the petitioner to cite relevant laws and judgments in support of her plea that the websites should be banned and their owners prosecuted.

If SC decides to crackdown on websites sharing jokes that appear to insult Sikhs, the portal owners could face prosecution.

First Published: Oct 30, 2015 20:40 IST

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