The Supreme Court will Tuesday hear a petition filed by advocate Harvinder Choudhry seeking a ban on jokes against the Sikh community. 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 petitioner argued that such jokes on many social network websites portray Sikhs as “unintelligent”, “foolish” and “naïve”, making them an easy target of ridicule and racial abuse.
Choudhary, herself belonging to a Sikh family, said that she too had been a target of ridicule and abuse because of such jokes.
The Supreme Court has asked an expert panel headed by former apex court judge H.S. Bedi to submit draft guidelines so that appropriate orders can be passed to prevent circulation of sardar jokes on websites. In July, a bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice D.Y. 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.