Saturday, February 4, 2023

Threatening Karnataka HC judges over hijab verdict: Supreme Court issues notice in plea by accused

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The Supreme Court issued notice in a plea by a person who had allegedly threatened the judges of Karnataka High Court for delivering the hijab verdict.

The Bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Bela M. Trivedi issued the notice to the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka on the plea by petitioner Rahamatullah, a member of the Tamil Nadu Towheed Jamaat, who is accused of threatening judges of Karnataka High Court who pronounced the hijab verdict, through social media posts. He sought quashing of the FIR or its transfer from Bangalore to Madurai.

The petitioner addressed a small gathering at Goripalyam, Madurai, Tamil Nadu. In the said address, the petitioner is accused of making an inflammatory speech and as a consequence of the same an FIR at Thallakulam Police Station, Madurai, Tamil Nadu U / s 153A, 505(1)(b), 505(1)(c), 505 (2), 506 (1) and 109 of IPC was registered on 18.03.2022.

Rahmatullah was duly arrested and was remanded to judicial custody on 19.03.2022 and is in custody till date. When the factual matrix stood thus, on the strength of a video of the speech of the petitioner another FIR at Vidhana Saudha Police station, Karnataka U / s 506(1) 505(1)(C), 505(1)(B), 153A, 109, 504, 505(2) of IPC was registered.

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According to the petition, Rahamatullah would be put to tremendous hardship and it would be impossible for him to approach various courts/police stations in two different states in respect of such FIRs. Furthermore, the continuation of investigation in both FIRs parallel by two different investigating agencies would tantamount to abuse of due process.

Grounds mentioned in the petition:-

a) It is a trite principle of law that a second FIR is not maintainable on the basis of the same set of facts. The Apex Court has reiterated this principle of law in a catena of cases. In this regard reference may be made to the decision of this court in the case of TT Antony v State of Kerala (2001) 6 SCC 181 & Arnab Ranjan Goswami v UOI W.P.(Crl) 130 of 2020. The relevant portions of the said order is extracted below

“33. A litany of our decisions – to refer to them individually would be a parade of the familiar – has firmly established that any reasonable restriction on fundamental rights must comport with the proportionality standard, of which one component is that the measure adopted must be the least restrictive measure to effectively achieve the legitimate state aim. Subjecting an individual to numerous proceedings across different jurisdictions on the basis of the same cause of action cannot be accepted as the least restrictive and effective method of achieving the legitimate state aim in prosecuting crime.”

“The following FIRs/complaints are quashed, following the decision of this Court in TT Antony (explained subsequently) that successive FIRs/complaints founded on the same cause of action are not maintainable”

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b) It is a well-established principle of law that the right to a fair investigation is enshrined in the right to life guaranteed in Article 21 of the Constitution of India, 1950. It is humbly contended that two parallel investigations being undertaken in two different jurisdictions by two different investigating agencies in regard to the same cause of action is violative of petitioner’s right to fair investigation.

c) It is submitted that this Hon’ble Court has taken the view in Satinder Singh Bhasin v. Government (NCT of Delhi) & Others [2019 (10) SCC 800] that in cases where there are a group of cases in different States, this Hon’ble Court can exercise jurisdiction under Article 32 of the Constitution and grant necessary relief.

d) It is submitted that multiple (Two) FIRs have been registered against the Petitioner before various police stations (Madurai, Tamilnadu & Bangalore, Karnataka )across the country. The Petitioner would not be in a position to individually approach each such court, apart from the fact that there may be conflicting orders of various courts.

e) No other application is filed by the Petitioner in this Hon’ble Court or the Hon’ble Supreme Court touching the subject matter of the present application.

f) The Petitioner craves leave to produce additional documents in support of this application as and when required.

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