31 October, 2020

What’s Tamil For Lèse-Majesté?

Piqued by DMK protests against his ‘overreach’, the TN governor dusts off a weapon from the IPC arsenal

M.K. Stalin’s protests are being construed as ‘criminal force’
Photograph by PTI
What’s Tamil For Lèse-Majesté?

Lord Macaulay was two years in his grave when his Indian Penal Code came into force in 1862. But his memory was honoured in free India when Tamil Nadu governor Banwarilal Purohit threatened to deploy one of the IPC’s rarely-used provisions against the state’s Opposition leader and his party cadres for holding demonstrations against him.

After the DMK’s M.K.Stalin led a flash protest in front of Raj Bhavan on June 23, the governor’s office warned that under Section 124 of the IPC, anyone using ‘criminal force’ to stop governors from discharging their duties could receive up to seven years’ imprisonment. While Stalin’s agitation before the Raj Bhavan gates was the latest provocation, the governor had already been piqued by the DMK showing him black flags whenever he visited district headquarters, reportedly to learn about the various schemes and projects of the state government.

The DMK had dubbed these ‘unconstitutional reviews’ by the governor a direct infringement of the rights of the state government,...



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