The Madras High Court on Saturday has directed the state police to not to take any coercive action/steps against the members of parliament namely Dayanidhi Maran & T.R. Balu in three FIRs filed alleging insult to the Scheduled caste community.
The petitioners herein filed a petition under section 482 of CrPC seeking quashing of the FIR registered under Sections 3(1)(u) and 3(1)(v) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
Brief facts of the case are the MPs of DMK party met the Chief Secretary with regard to COVID-19 relief work and further to submit petitions in this regard. At that time, the Chief Secretary did not respond and gave proper respect to them. Thereafter, T.R.Balu and Dayanidhi Maran addressed the press and media persons, elaborating the manner in which they were treated by the Chief Secretary in emotional mood, without any reason. Mr.Dayanadhi Maran stated that they were treated as third class citizens like under privilege people, which insulted, intimidated and sent shock waves among the SC and ST people. As a result the FIRs were lodged against them.
The Counsel appearing for petitioners said that the alleged occurrence is said to have taken place on 13.05.2020, but the complaint came to be lodged after six days on 19.05.2020, for which no reason has been given for such delay. The Members of Parliament had gone to the office of the Chief Secretary to submit petitions received from one lakh people in the state of Tamil Nadu for the grievance of their food, shelter and clothing during the COVID-19 pandemic period. At that time, the Members of Parliament were treated with scant respect.
He also said that the petitioner made no such comments and his words were doctored, further immediately in Twitter, he gave his explanation and expressed his remorse. The petitioner is a sitting member of the Parliament from Chennai Central Constituency belonging to DMK Party who was a Cabinet Minister of the Nation on two occasions, hails from a respectable family and he is performing yeoman service to the people in the present COVID-19 pandemic. The registration of FIR is with malafide and abuse of process of law, the petitioner addressing the press and media has been projected out of context. It is well established principle that under the Act, stray words should never be picked out and attributed with motive.
Acting upon the plea, the single judge bench of Justice M. Nirmal Kumar, observed that the petitioners are elected parliamentarians, who submitted petitions and made representations with regard to sufferings and plight of the common man due to COVID-19, the complaints appear verbatim, reproduction of each other. In view of the elaborate arguments made by the learned senior counsels and by the learned State Public Prosecutor and from perusal of the materials produced, this Court admits the quash petitions and directs the State Public Prosecutor to take notice to the informants in all Criminal Original Petitions and directed to file reply.
The High Court also said that the respondent Police are directed not to take any coercive action/steps against the petitioners in all Criminal Original Petitions.
The High Court has listed the case for further hearing on 29th May, 2020.
-India Legal Bureau