The Supreme Court will hear the petition on March 27 and pass a detailed formal order over the ban on jokes against the Sikh Community. While hearing the petition on February 7, the apex court said, “It observed that it won’t be right to frame guidelines on issue.”
A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said, “We don’t intend to render any judgment on this issue. We really can’t issue guidelines to stop jokes.”
The petition was filed by advocate Harvinder Choudhary seeking a ban on February 7. Choudhary had contended that such jokes portray the Sikh community in negative light and wants such websites, which disseminate such ‘insensitive’ jokes, to be prosecuted under laws that carry a prison term of six months to five years.
The apex court had asked an expert panel headed by former judge HS Bedi to submit draft guidelines so that appropriate orders can be passed to prevent circulation of ‘sardar jokes’ on websites.
The petitioner argued that such jokes on many social network websites portray Sikhs as ‘unintelligent’, ‘foolish’ and ‘naive’, making them an easy target of ridicule and racial abuse.
Choudhary, herself belonging to a Sikh family, said she too had been a target of ridicule and abuse because of such jokes.
Earlier in July 2016, a bench of Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justice DY Chandrachud gave six weeks time for the panel to hold discussions and submit the guidelines.
The bench passed the order after hearing the counsel for various parties including the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) which said that the community is being bullied by such jokes.
The last hearing in this case was held on November 22.