New Delhi: Political analyst Ashish Nandy today told the Supreme Court he was ready to tender an unconditional apology for a 2008 article written in a national daily which had led to the registration of an FIR against him for allegedly portraying Gujarat in bad light.
The statement by Nandy's lawyer was made before a bench of Justices V Gopala Gowda and Arun Mishra, which was hearing the appeal filed by him against the 2010 decision of Delhi High Court refusing to quash criminal proceedings by Gujarat Police for allegedly promoting communal disharmony.
The FIR was lodged in January 2008 on a complaint of V K Saxena, currently Chairman of Khadi and Village Industries Commission and President of Ahmedabad-based NGO National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL), for Nandy's remarks towards people of Gujarat on the outcome of the 2007 Assembly polls in which Narendra Modi-led BJP had retained the power.
When the matter came up for hearing today, Nandy's counsel said a letter has been circulated for adjourning the matter as the senior advocate, who was to argue, was not available. However, the bench said matters are generally adjourned when senior advocates are in personal difficulty, which is not the case here and wanted to proceed with it.
At this point, the junior advocate said 79-year-old Nandy was ready to tender an unconditional apology which can be published in the same newspaper that had carried the controversial article.
Taking note of his statement, the bench asked the Gujarat government counsel and Saxena's advocate Gaurav Goyal to take instructions and posted the matter for hearing next week. Nandy had earlier contended that the FIR was registered out of malafide intention and aimed at penalising him for expressing his bonafide views.
Gujarat government had been seeking the nod of the apex court to continue with the investigation to a "conclusive end" into the FIR against him under section 153A (promoting communal disharmony) and 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration) of the IPC.
The state government had said Nandy's petition seeking quashing of criminal proceedings against him be dismissed as "the FIR in the instant case prima facie discloses the offence under sections 153A and 153B of the IPC."