The Supreme Court has refused to quash FIRs against journalist Amish Devgan in connection with his comment on Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti during a TV debate.
The bench of Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice Sanjiv Khanna gave him interim protection from arrest & combined all FIRs to one place in Ajmer.
In the plea challenging the FIRs registered against News anchor Amish Devgan on his remarks on Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti; the Court had reserved its order on September 25.
Citing a Constitution bench judgement, Senior Advocate Siddharth Luthra, who appeared on behalf of the anchor, stated that “the section 153B of IPC only punishes when there is a deliberate and calculated intent to disrupt the public order and create religious disharmony. In the case of Manzar Syed Khan it was noted that the test of quashing is if the speech is of aggravated form and with the intent of disrupting public order.”
“The Registration of FIR all over India is interesting but a mala fide exercise as multiplicity of FIRs will make it impossible for an individual to work as a journalist,”Luthra submitted.
To discuss if multiple FIRs can be filed on the same set of facts, he cited the judgement of TT Antony vs. State. Talking about the FIRs filed in Ajmer, he had stated that “it needs to be quashed because that man has not seen the show and Ajmer does not have jurisdiction.”
Commenting during a debate on a PIL about the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act on his show ‘Aar Par’, Amish Devgan had called Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, also known as Khwaja Gareeb Nawaz, an attacker and a lootera, as per the report.
Through Advocate Vivek Jain, the plea filed by Amish Devgan 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, intended 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)
Amish Devgan on June 17 has apologized for hurting the religious sentiments of the Muslims, and he wrote; in 1 of my debates, I inadvertently referred to ‘Khilji’ as Chishti. I sincerely apologize 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.