Ban on Sardar jokes difficult to enforce – Supreme Court

Sardar Jokes banned Supreme Court

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court questioned if it’s practical to enforce a ban on jokes about any community and asked the complainants to outline how a ban on ‘Sardar jokes’ could be implemented.

Earlier, a committee headed by former Supreme Court judge H S Bedi had said that cracking ‘Sardar jokes’ to stereotype Sikh students as silly or intellectually inferior should be treated as ragging and habitual offenders should face rustication from higher educational institutions.

“Today, it is Sikhs. Tomorrow, the people from northeast will come and seek a direction that there should be a ban on anyone referring to them as chinkies. Day after, the people living below Vindhyachal will seek a ban on north Indians referring to them as Madrasis. How does one deal with such issues?” it asked.
A bench of Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justices C Nagappan and A M Khanwilkar asked SGPC and DSGMC, both of whom have sought a ban on Sardar jokes, to consider the practical aspects of stopping circulation of such jokes among people. “What is the legal mechanism? How to enforce such a ban is the biggest question. We understand that no particular community should be made the butt of jokes. Commercial exploitation of Sikh jokes can be stopped by asking companies and telecom service providers not to circulate these. But can we stop two people from cracking jokes and having a laugh over it?” the CJI asked.

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Appearing for DSGMC, senior advocate Rupinder Singh Suri informed the court that a panel headed by former SC judge H S Bedi had framed guidelines on stopping racial discrimination of Sikhs and other communities through jokes.

The CJI replied, “We are not saying anything about the guidelines. We are on the issue of implementing, if in case the court decides to issue a direction.”