The High Court of Chhattisgarh has granted interim relief to Sambit Patra, spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the FIRs registered against him for allegedly making derogatory statement against former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Rajvi Gandhi on his twitter account.
A single judge Bench of Justice Sanjay K Agrawal granted him interim relief while hearing his petition challenging the two FIRs registered against him. The FIRs were registered against him over his tweets against Jawaharlal Nehru and Rajiv Gandhi who have both served as Prime Ministers of our Country.
He had tweeted that Jawaharlal Nehru was responsible for the Kashmir issue, Rajiv Gandhi was responsible for the stealing in the Bofors scam and for the death of 3,000 people in the anti-Sikh riots of 1984.
The Court has fixed the next hearing after four weeks and has directed that no coercive will be action be taken against Sambit Patra till then.
According to Senior Counsel Ajay Barman for petitioner, submitted that, “the subject matter of the FIR under crime no. 192/2020 is the registration of offence against Patra under section 499, 500, 501& 505 (1) of the IPC, whereas offences under sections 499, 500 & 501 of the IPC cannot be taken cognizance of on the basis of the police report in view of the provision contained in Section 199 (1) of the CrPC and the complaint in writing has to be filed before the jurisdictional Magistrate, therefore FIR prima facie barred and not sustainable in law. He further submitted another FIR under crime no. 200/2020 for the offences punishable under Sections 153 A, 298 & 505(2) of the IPC registered against the petitioner is not at all attracted and prima facie ingredients of the aforesaid offences are also not made out against the petitioner, which is apparent from bare perusal of the FIR. Therefore, both the FIRs deserve to be quashed in view of the decision of the Supreme Court in the matter of State of Haryana & Ors Vs Bhajan lal & Ors.”
He also submitted that Patra had recently been discharged from the hospital after being treated for COVID-19.
The Court took into consideration that the petitioner is a patient of COVID-19, has recently been discharged from hospital and is undergoing quarantine for 14 days, in view of the provision contained in Section 199 (1) of the CrPC, found it expedient to direct, no coercive steps are taken against the petitioner till the next date of hearing.
Senior Advocate Ajay Barman, Advocate Awadhesh Singh, Advocate Ramakant Mishra and Advocate Sharad Mishra had appeared for Patra, while Additional Advocate General Sunil Otwani represented the State in the hearing.
Read the Order Here;
-India Legal Bureau
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