Tamil Nadu: Udhayanidhi Stalin Defends Views on Caste Equality in High Court Amid Controversy

Tamil Nadu: Udhayanidhi Stalin Defends Views on Caste Equality in High Court Amid Controversy

Amidst a controversy over Udhayanidhi's call to eradicate Sanatan Dharma, a writ of quo warrant was filed against him in the court, questioning under what authority he is continuing as Minister.

N ChithraUpdated: Monday, October 16, 2023, 11:45 PM IST
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Tamil Nadu minister Udhayanidhi Stalin | Twitter

Chennai: Tamil Nadu Youth Welfare Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin has argued before the Madras High Court that expressing a viewpoint against caste hegemony, preaching equality among all human beings, and calling for the eradication of social discrimination based on caste, creed, and sex cannot be termed unconstitutional.

Amidst a controversy over Udhayanidhi's call to eradicate Sanatan Dharma, a writ of quo warrant was filed against him in the court, questioning under what authority he is continuing as Minister.

Reference to Sanatan Dharma in counter-affidavit

Opposing the petition, in his counter-affidavit filed before Justice Anitha Sumanth, through his senior counsel Wilson, he contended that by relying upon a 1902 literature on Sanatana Dharma, the petitioner wanted to take society back to the dark ages when men and women were not treated equally, and when people born into the so-called “lower caste” were shunned, ostracized, and treated as second-class citizens.

“The present writ petition is politically motivated. It is a classic case of the abuse of the process of the court. A certain ideology that is opposed to the more than 100 years old Dravidian ideology is attempting to use the court process to settle political and social questions. While the Dravidian ideology speaks of self-respect, equality, rational thought, and brotherhood, the opposing sect speaks of division based on caste,” his counter-affidavit read.

Next hearing on Oct 31

He recalled that soon after the Sanatan Dharma controversy broke out, he had clarified he had great respect for all religions and had no intention to belittle or disrespect any faith. At the same time, he was duty-bound to speak about irrational beliefs and discrimination prevalent in society in the name of religion. “If he does not speak for equal rights of people from all caste groups and the rights of women who were once forced into Devadasi and Sati, who else will speak,” the counter affidavit questioned.

The judge adjourned the case for further hearing to October 31 and asked the counsel for the Minister to produce a copy of the invitation to the anti-Sanathan Dharma event where the speech was delivered, and also a compact disc containing video footage of the entire event.

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