“FIRs Filed Basis Toxic Social Media Posts Against Devgan”: Senior Advocate Sidharth Luthra Tells SC

first_imgTop Stories”FIRs Filed Basis Toxic Social Media Posts Against Devgan”: Senior Advocate Sidharth Luthra Tells SC Sanya Talwar24 Sep 2020 5:56 AMShare This – xJournalist Amish Devgan’s Counsel, Senior Advocate Sidharth Luthra submitted before the Supreme Court today that offences alleged against Devgan are not made out and thus the FIR’s deserve to be quashed.As many as 7 FIRs have been filed in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra & Telangana against Devgan on the basis of derogatory remarks that he made against Sufi…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginJournalist Amish Devgan’s Counsel, Senior Advocate Sidharth Luthra submitted before the Supreme Court today that offences alleged against Devgan are not made out and thus the FIR’s deserve to be quashed.As many as 7 FIRs have been filed in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra & Telangana against Devgan on the basis of derogatory remarks that he made against Sufi Saint Moinnuddin Chisti on his prime time show, telecast on June 15.Luthra told a bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar & Sanjiv Khanna that the FIRs stipulate offences under Sections 153A, 153G, 295A, 298, 5050(2) of IPC & 66(f) of the Information Technology Act against Devgan but none of the FIRs & their contents justify their requisite ingredients in terms of the Indian Penal Code.First, Luthra read out transcripts from the show and submitted that the statements made by Devgan for the Sufi Saint were inadvertently made and that he had issued public apology for the same.”He is himself a follower of the Sufi Saint and visits the Ajmer Shareef Dargah regularly,” said Luthra, adding that a social media post stating his apology was put out on June 17 at 11.53 PM.While elaborating that there was no correlation between tendering apology and filing of FIR, Luthra said that the apology was made at 11.53 PM on June 17 while the first FIR was registered 18 minutes later.Luthra’s skeletal legal arguments centered around the following:1) The first test being, are any of the ingredients of the offences made out? A statement made without intent cannot be considered to be a criminal offence u/s 153A,295A, 505 of IPC & 66 of IT Act.2) Alternatively…assuming thereto, is it not a case made under Section 95 and liable to be quashed?3) One cannot have alternative FIRs arising out the same alleged offence, doing so points to abuse of power.4) Also, assuming though not accepting that an FIR could lie, the jurisdiction cannot be beyond Noida where the broadcast was made, Devgan cannot be dragged to any and every corner of the country.Luthra argued that the basis of filing an FIR basis against Devgan stemmed from what was learnt by complainant on social media. “What is said on social media is often very toxic and if you read something toxic, does not mean the original content was. This man did not even watch the show and he states in the FIR itself that he got the information about Devgan’s derogatory statements from social media” he added.While one FIR did state that Devgan had the intention to insult the Sufi Saint, which he did deliberately (by using the word “Lootera” for Khwaja Moinnuddin Chisti on his show), Luthra argued that intention in no way makes out an offence. Then, the Senior Counsel argued that that a comment against a religious figure would not attract an offence under 295A IPC.There is absence of all ingredients made out against Devgan, under Section 153A, 295A or 505(2) of the IPC.”I would submit, how can the act fall within 505(2)? The mere usage of the word intent or deliberate in the FIR will not bring offences within the corners of these sections under IPC against,” said Luthra.Further, he contended that section 66(f) of the Information Technology act would also not be attracted as it stipulated ingredients of “Cyber Terrorism”.The bench is expected to hear arguments tomorrow throughout the day from 10.30 AM.Background:While hosting a debate on June 15 on PIL’s regarding the Place of Worship Special Provision Act on his show ‘Aar Par’, Amish had called Khwaja Moinuddin Chisthi, better known as Khwaja Ghreeb Nawaz, an “attacker” and “looter”.Following that, several police complaints and FIRs were registered against the anchor across the country.Devgan’s petition filed through Advocate Vivek Jain seeks quashing of the FIRs which have invoked sections 295A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), ‪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), 505 (Statements conducing to public mischief) and 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).Devgan had also profusely apologised for referring to the Sufi Saint as a “lootera” and called it an “inadvertent error”.His tweet of apology read:”In 1 of my debates,I inadvertently referred to ‘Khilji’ as Chishti. I sincerely apologise for this grave error and the anguish it may hv 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”.On July 8, the top court had directed a stay on an investigation and coercive action against journalist Amish Devgan.Subscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. All payment options available.loading….Next Storylast_img read more