Global Freedom of Expression

Manimaran v. Assistant Commissioner of Police

Closed Expands Expression

Key Details

  • Mode of Expression
    Public Assembly
  • Date of Decision
    November 26, 2014
  • Outcome
    Injunction or Order Granted
  • Case Number
    Writ Petition No. 30803 of 2014
  • Region & Country
    India, Asia and Asia Pacific
  • Judicial Body
    Constitutional Court
  • Type of Law
    Constitutional Law
  • Themes
    Freedom of Association and Assembly / Protests, Political Expression, Public Order

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Case Analysis

Case Summary and Outcome

The Madras High Court ruled that the petitioner could hold a public meeting to discuss a militant group. The petitioner sought a permit to hold a public meeting to discuss the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam), which was considered a militant group. . The court reasoned that “permission to stage a demonstration could not be rejected just on the presumption that a person was bound to violate the law.”


Facts

This case must be understood in a broader geopolitical context. The LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) is a militant group in Sri Lanka that demands secession of territories where the minority Tamil-speaking population is concentrated. It is formally recognized as a terrorist group in many countries, including India. The group was created in the context of allegedly discriminatory policies of the Sri Lankan government against the Tamils. Tamil Nadu is India’s southern most State, which is believed to be the place of origin of both the Tamil language and the Tamil-speaking migrants in Sri Lanka. This linguistic and cultural tie between Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu often creates sympathies for the cause of the LTTE in the latter.


Decision Overview

The Honourable Mr. Justice V. Ramasubramanian, in the High Court of Judicature at Madras, wrote the opinion of the court. The first issue that the court discussed was whether granting permission to the petitioner to hold a public meeting would violate Law and Order. However, the court did not analyze this issue further and instead affirmed the judgment held in S. Sivabalan v. Deputy Superintendent of Police, which ultimately permitted the holding of a public meeting.

The second issue that the court discussed was whether the motive to hold a public conference was to commemorate Arignar Anna’s Birthday, or rather to create a venue in which the petitioner and his supporters could speak openly about the LTTE. The respondent denied permission to the petitioner to hold such a conference because the LTTE is a banned organization, and the respondent assumed that such a conference would be held to discuss the LTTE in favorably and against public order. However, the court held that “permission to stage a demonstration could not be rejected just on the presumption that a person was bound to violate the law.” [1] Thus, the court ordered that the petitioner be allowed to hold the meeting.

 

[1] Allow MDMK meeting HC tells police, Nov. 27, 2014, The Hindu, available at http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/allow-mdmk-meeting-hc-tells-police/article6637871.ece.


Decision Direction

Quick Info

Decision Direction indicates whether the decision expands or contracts expression based on an analysis of the case.

Expands Expression

The Court recognized the high threshold that must be met to justify restrictions on freedom of expression. In this regard, mere apprehension that the law will be broken would not justify the restrictions imposed by the State.

Global Perspective

Quick Info

Global Perspective demonstrates how the court’s decision was influenced by standards from one or many regions.

Table of Authorities

National standards, law or jurisprudence

  • India, Sivabalan v. Deputy Superintendent of Police, 2011 (3) MLJ 1046
  • India, Prevention of Terrorism Act (2002)
  • India, Const., art. 19(1)(a) & (2)
  • India, People's Union for Civil Liberties v. Union of India, (2004) 1 SC.R. 232

Case Significance

Quick Info

Case significance refers to how influential the case is and how its significance changes over time.

The decision establishes a binding or persuasive precedent within its jurisdiction.

The judgement of the High Court has a binding effect on future decisions of the same High Court. Its value with respect to other High Court and the Supreme Court is persuasive.

Official Case Documents

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