THE Supreme Court on Friday ordered no coercive action against activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan in connection with a First Information Report (FIR) filed against him in the State of Gujarat for allegedly hurting religious sentiments.
A two-judge bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna has also issued notice to the Gujarat government seeking its response on advocate Bhushan’s plea to quash the FIR registered against him at the Police Station Bhaktinagar, Rajkot under following Sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
- Sections 295A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs),
- 505 (1)(b) (Statements conducing to public mischief with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public, or to any section of the public whereby any person may be induced to commit an offence against the State or against the public tranquillity)
- 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) and
- 120B (Punishment of criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)
On March 28, Bhushan had tweeted, “As crores starve & walk hundreds of miles home due to forced lockdown, our heartless ministers celebrate consuming & feeding the opium of Ramayana & Mahabharata to the people!” Based on this tweet, an FIR was lodged against him.
In his plea, Bhushan has asserted that FIR is not only malafide and filed with the intention of harassing the petitioner as well as interfering with the petitioner’s fundamental right to the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution of India but also baseless and devoid of merit since even the ingredients of the sections invoked in the said FIR are not satisfied at all and hence, prima facie no case is made out.
Read the Order here: