Nupur Sharma controversy: SC grants interim protection to journalist Navika Kumar

by IANS |

New Delhi, Aug 8 (IANS) In a relief to Times Now journalist Navika Kumar, the Supreme Court on Monday granted her interim protection from any coercive action in multiple FIRs already registered or future cases, in connection with remarks made by suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma on Prophet Muhammed during a TV debate.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing the senior journalist, submitted before a bench comprising Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli that his client did not say anything offensive during the debate on the Gyanvapi mosque, instead a participant said something, which was responded to by another participant. Rohatgi emphasized that his client doused the fire by saying we have to go by the Constitution.

He further argued that the woman who made the statement is facing flak in multiple FIRs, and his client is also facing several FIRs. "She has five or six FIRs in Kolkata alone. First FIR came to be lodged in Delhi," said Rohatgi.

Senior advocate Maneka Guruswamy, representing the West Bengal government, contended that FIRs annexed with the plea were not the right ones as those did not concern the particular speech. Rohatgi questioned the interest of the West Bengal government in the matter.

After hearing arguments, the top court said as an interim measure, no coercive action should be taken against the petitioner in the FIRs/complaints lodged or future cases, which may be lodged in connection with the programme on May 26. The top court also issued notice to West Bengal, Delhi, and police of other states, and sought their response within two weeks.

The top court, on July 19, had ordered that no coercive action can be taken against Sharma in FIRs already registered and also future FIRs in connection with her remarks during the debate. A bench comprising Justices Surya Kant and J.B. Pardiwala said: "Meanwhile, as an interim measure it is directed that no coercive shall be taken against Nupur Sharma pursuant to the impugned FIRs."

Nupur Sharma had moved the Supreme Court seeking stay on her arrest in the nine FIRs against her for her remarks on Prophet Muhammad and also sought clubbing/quashing of the FIRs with the FIR registered at Delhi.

On July 1, the top court had minced no words in slamming Sharma, whose remarks on Prophet Muhammad sparked a controversy. The top court said her loose tongue has set the entire country on fire and her irresponsible remarks shows that she is "obstinate and arrogant".

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