Plea on cartoon: HC issues notices to Kerala, Centre

The petition was moved by Haindaveeyam Foundation, arranging the Union Government, Kerala Government, the State Lalithakala Akademi, cartoonist Anoop Radhakrishnan and unnamed jurist of the honourable mention award for the cartoon as respondents.

Kerala high court on Monday issued notices to Union Government, Kerala Government, State Lalithakala Akademi and cartoonist Anoop Radakrishnan on a petition seeking a direction that the akademi withdraw its honourable mention cartoon award for 2019-20 as it “portray India in poor light and carry a distorted version of reality.’’

The petition was moved by Haindaveeyam Foundation, arranging the Union Government, Kerala Government, the State Lalithakala Akademi, cartoonist Anoop Radhakrishnan and unnamed jurist of the honourable mention award for the cartoon as respondents.

The petition said that the honourable mention award for cartoon bagged by Radhakrishnan prima facie demeans and disparages India. The cartoon in question titled “COVID-19 GLOBAL MEDICAL SUMMIT,’’ showed a cow with an orange shawl draping it, representing India flanked by doctors in England, China, and the United States in the global medical summit.

The petition said that “t is explicit that it is authored to demean and disparage India, especially in the international arena, as it is clear from its anti-national artistic elements. It is noteworthy; since the entire world is coping with a very extraordinary situation amid this pandemic.

The petition said the award announced by the akademi should be withdrawn, as it is demeaning and disparaging India amid the international arena. The respondents, except the union government, cannot avail the protection under the Fundamental right guaranteed by Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India. The Fundamental right guaranteed by Article 19(1)(a) of the freedom of speech and expression is not absolute,’’ said the petition.

IT said the cartoon was selected with an ulterior motive. It is arbitrary, illegal, illogical, and devoid of rationale and hence the vivid violation of Articles 19(1) (a) and 21 of the Constitution of India. Hence, the award is liable to be withdrawn.

After Radhakrishnan recently bagged the award for his cartoon, BJP had criticized the akademi and the cartoonist. Radhakrishnan has been allegedly facing attacks in social media over the cartoon.

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