The Delhi High Court has rejected a suit filed against the book written by Syed Waseem Rizvi titled Muhammad which is said to contain provocative and agitational statements with respect to Prophet Mohammed, Islam and the Quran. The suit was filed by Qamar Hasnain and sought damages worth Rs 2,05,00,000 to make Rizvi stop from committing such acts in the future.
The single-judge bench of Justice Sanjeev Narula dismissed the suit which sought a permanent injunction to stop Waseem Rizvi from making such provocative statements or publishing them on any platform. The suit also sought permanent injunction to stop Waseem Rizvi from selling, circulating or distributing the book through any medium.
The bench noted that there should be a personal legal right, a corresponding personal legal injury which gives rise to actual damage in order to maintain the present suit as such. The plaintiff has sought mandatory and permanent injunction on behalf of the followers of Islam which was a right in rem.
The bench further noted that under the law of torts any injury or hurt caused to the personal religious sentiments of the plaintiff is not an actionable wrong. A case under the provisions of criminal law must have been made at the best, which would not be maintainable before this court or even be pleaded.
The counsel for the plaintiff submitted that the plaintiff has approached this court in his individual capacity and being aggrieved by the contents of the said book and feels that his religious sentiments are insulted hence seeks to exercise his right in rem. He also submitted that the content of the said book Muhammad has harmed the plaintiff’s personal reputation as a Muslim.
The bench observed that no case law has been placed before the court in support of the prepositions advanced during the hearing. Vague mentions were made of a case from 1918 of the Allahabad High Court and even that was not produced before the court. Further reference was made to a Law Commission report regarding hate speech but even that was of no consequence. Though arguments were made on merits as well but they cannot be examined by this court, once the jurisdiction of this court is ousted.