The Madras High Court has dismissed a plea seeking deletion of engravings of atheistic statements like "there is no God" from pedestals of 'Periyar' E V Ramasamy's statues.
A bench of justices S Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad refused to accept petitioner M Deivanayagam's argument that Periyar Ramaswamy, considered an icon of social justice and rationalism, had not said such words like "there is no God".
"Without any iota of hesitation, one can clearly come to the conclusion that it is Periyar's philosophy and ideology, which became a self respect movement and later on, a party (Dravidar Kazhagam)," said the bench, citing Periyar's speeches dating back to 1928 and refusing to accede to the petitioner plea.
It is common to find in Tamil Nadu, the engravings like "There is no God" inscribed on pedestal of Periyar's statues.
The other engravings are: "There is no God at all" and "He who invented God is a fool", besides many other atheistic statements.
The preaching is attributed to Periyar - a reverential term in Tamil denoting a great leader - who led a popular movement to end social inequalities and fought for women empowerment. He promoted rationalism all his life.
Seeking a directo to the Tamil Nadu government to remove the atheistic slogans from Periyar's statues, Deivanayagam had contended that Periyar (1879-1973) had not used such words offending the people.
It was the Dravidar Kazhagam chief K Veeramani who had got such words inscribed on statues' pedestals, he had alleged.
The petitioner's contention that engravings were inscribed by Veeramani only after Periyar's death is contrary to facts and cannot be accepted, the court ruled.
The court added that it was of the view that it was an undisputed fact that Periyar, in all his speeches, and publications, from 1928, had "declared that there is no god, God doesn't exist, (and) one who has created (God) is a fool."
The bench, in its order, further said if the petitioner has a right under Article 19 of the Constitution to express his views on religion and God's existence, similarly the DK, its members and followers of Periyar, have a right to disagree under the very same provision.
"The DK has every right under the Constitution to express its views on religion and God," the court said.
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