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Santa-Banta Type Jokes: Supreme Court To Consider Sikh Community’s View

NEW DELHI:  Do Sikhs feel bad about Santa Banta jokes on them? If so, the Supreme Court today said it will seriously consider examining a plea to ban websites displaying jokes on them.

“If we think that your community do 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 a Sikh woman lawyer Harvinder Chowdhury, who has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in this regard.

She said Delhi Sikh Gurduwara Management Committee (DSGMC) has also filed a petition on the same issue and they are 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 to express his views on the issue being a Sikh himself.

However, before he could say something, the woman lawyer continued to make submissions in high pitch, prompting the ASG to comment that “she is getting over-excited”.

Later, at the end of the proceedings, Mr Patwalia said, “we have taken things seriously.”

The bench said that matter will 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.”

Ms Chowdhury also had reservation about the jokes and outspoken comments of noted Sikh author Khushwant Singh.

The bench stopped the lawyer from going ahead by saying that she should keep her submissions reserved for the main hearing.

During the last hearing on October 30, 2015, 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 which display jokes on Sikhs projecting the members of the community in poor light.

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