In a recent development, the Tamil Nadu police have registered a case against the editor and publisher of the Tamil daily Dinamalar for allegedly promoting enmity between different groups. The action was taken in response to a news report published by the daily, claiming that oral orders were issued to restrict special darshan and annadanam in Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR and CE) temples on the day of the pran pratishtha of the Ram mandir in Ayodhya on January 22.
The case, filed by the SS Colony police in Madurai, was initiated based on a complaint from an official of the HR and CE Department, according to sources cited by The Hindu.
The editor and publisher have been booked under sections 153 (A) (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony) and 505 (ii) (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred, or ill-will between classes) of the Indian Penal Code.
The contentious news report alleged that Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had criticised the Tamil Nadu Government for purportedly ‘banning’ the live telecast of the Ram mandir Pran Pratishtha ceremony. It claimed that puja, bhajan, and annadanam were also prohibited in temples in the name of Bhagwan Ram.
In response, HR and CE Minister P K Sekarbabu denied the allegations, asserting that the department had not issued any such directives to temples in Tamil Nadu.
In light of these events, the Supreme Court emphasised on Monday that police and state authorities were not obligated to act on any “oral orders” to ban the live telecast and puja, clarifying the legal standpoint on such directives.