Millennium Post

Sardarji jokes: Courts can't lay down moral guidelines, says SC

The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed its inability to issue directions to regulate jokes about the Sikh community, observing courts cannot "lay down moral guidelines" for citizens and doubting their enforceability if they were to do so.

A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and R Banumathi said courts cannot pass any regulations asking people to behave in a "particular manner in public" and even if they do, "who will enforce them on the streets?"

"We are clear on the issue that the courts cannot lay down moral guidelines for citizens. We cannot issue guidelines to regulate individuals," the bench said. The bench, which indicated its opinion on the issue, said it would pass a formal order on a batch of petitions alleging commercial dissemination of "insulting" jokes about Sikhs through public modes of communication, like internet and SMS, on March 27.

It did not agree with the submission that like the Vishakha judgement, in which the apex court had given a slew of directions on women safety at work places, directions can be passed in the instant matter also till the government comes out with a legislation.

"In the Vishakha and the eve teasing judgements, the state was the party. Here, how can the court issue the writ of mandamus (directions) against individuals," it said.
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