Madras High Court said that the name Tribal/Community to identify the dance form should not be used to insult such community members

Madras High Court

A petition was filed seeking to take action against cultural programs denigrating the Kuravar Community. The Madras High Court while disposing of the petition says that no dance form should be identified on the name of Tribal/Community to insult such community members. The case was Po.Mu.Iraniyan @ Muthu Murugan V/S The UOI and others W.P.(MD)No.20097 of 2018. The judgement was reserved in Madurai Bench of Madras High Court on 01.12.2022 and pronounced on 11.01.2023. The case was presided by THE HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE R.MAHADEVAN and THE HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE J.SATHYA NARAYANA PRASAD.

Facts of the case

  • The petition was filed Iraniyan, General Secretary of Vanavengaigal Peravai, an organisation working for the upliftment of the Kuravar community. He said that Now-a-days cultural programmes are all about vulgarities instead of depicting moral stories from holy stories.
  • The petitioner added that earlier in cultural programs, the community was caste to perform in these programs but totally most of the dancers today do not belong to any tribal community but merely use their names. Sometimes the portrayal of the community in a scandalous manner and it also hurt the sentiments of the community members and it also created hatred in the minds of the person belonging to that tribe.
  • The respondent argued that government are treating every tribal/community equally. They also submitted that the Director General of Police had directed all the police station to grant consent after getting the information from the organiser of the events and confirming that there is no use of the vulgarity in the program.
  • The court noted that there is misrepresentation of the arts form of the particular community and also find it unaccepting.


The court said that such practices should not prevail in the society. It is the duty of the government to ensure that everyone is getting treated equally. The court added that these traditional art forms had gone through so much of changes to the extent that it now normalised.

Despite various directions of this Court, obscenity in the dance persists. Obviously, such misrepresentation and misappropriation of Kuravar’s indigenous art form will hurt the community’s feeling and acts of objectification under the guise of their community, ultimately leads to the persons belonging to the community being disrespected and ostracised, though they are not involved in the performances. Nevertheless, banning of such art form will amount to violation of fundamental rights of the individual performers and groups.
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