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The Supreme Court on Monday, 2nd September 2019 stayed the Punjab and Haryana High Court order imposing a fine of Rs 10 lakh each on activists Tehseen Poonawalla and music composer and singer Vishal Dadlani for mocking Jain monk Tarun Sagar.

The Bench of Justices Rohinton Nariman and Surya Kant also issued notice to the Haryana Government on the plea filed by Tehseen Poonawalla against the judgment of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The case against both was registered “for deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage the religious feelings and other offences” under Sections 295-A, 153-A and 509 of the IPC (Indian Penal Code) at Ambala Cantonment police station.

They had mocked the Haryana Government on its invitation to revered Jain monk, Muni Tarun Sagar, to address the Haryana Assembly on August 25, 2016. In recent days country has witnessed massive violent protests due to mob incitement using social media. Thus to ensure that people may not mock at religious leaders High Court imposed the fine.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had asked Vishal Dadlani and Tehseen Poonawalla to pay Rs 10 lakh each to get the FIR against them quashed. The High Court has since quashed the FIR and said that the fine was imposed to give a message so that no one mocked the heads of religious sects. Dadlani and Poonawalla were booked by the Haryana Police in August 2016 in Ambala Cantonment for hurting the religious sentiments of the Jain community.

— India Legal Bureau

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