Friday, March 31, 2023

SC Stays Probe, Says No Coercive Action Against Amish Devgan On FIR’s Against Him For Insulting Sufi Saint

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The Supreme Court on Friday has stayed probe in all FIR’s registered against Amish Devgan for his alleged derogatory remarks against revered Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti commonly known as Hazrat Khwaja Ghareeb Nawaz.

The bench while issuing notice has directed that no coercive action to be taken against Devgan till the next date of hearing. Matter has been listed for next hearing on July 8.

A two judge bench comprising Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari was hearing Journalist Amish Devgan’s petition seeking stay and quashing of FIRs against him, lodged on account of derogatory words used to describe Sufi Saint “Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti”.

Amish Devgan had made the comment during a debate on a PIL about the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act on his show ‘Aar Par’. As per reports he had called Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, also known as Khwaja Gareeb Nawaz, an “attacker” and a “lootera”.

Senior Counsel Siddharth Luthra appearing for Devgan submitted that  allegations stipulated that the incident came to light through social media. Moreover there was an entire transcript of the show where Devgan was discussing a legislation where Chishti’s name is reflected in light of Khilji.

He further submitted “If this starts happening, where people are dealt with for slip of the tongue, what will happen?

Luthra further brought to the Court’s notice that his client has issued a public apology.

Advocate Rizwan Merchant however submitted that in the broadcast, the word lootera chishti was uttered thrice. “When it’s uttered more than once then that intention argument doesn’t auger well.”

Luthra praying for consolidation and quashing of FIR’s submitted that his client’s family is being threatened and urged the court to grant interim protection to Devgan.

The plea filed by Amish Devgn through Advocate Vivek Jain seeks quashing of the FIRs which have been registered against him under the following sections of the Indian Penal Code:

·         Section 295A (Deliberate and malicious acts,ntended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs),

·         Section 153A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony),

·         Section 505 (Statements conducing to public mischief), and

·         Section 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention)

On June 17, the News Anchor had apologized for hurting the religious sentiments of the Muslims. He wrote “In 1 of my debates, I inadvertently referred to ‘Khilji’ as Chishti. I sincerely apologise for this grave error and the anguish it may have caused to followers of the Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti, whom I revere. I have in the past sought blessings at his dargah.I regret this error”.

-India Legal Bureau

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