SC stays HC verdict against Ashish Nandy

The High Court on September 1 had dismissed the petition filed by Nandy seeking quashing of the FIR registered against him.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave
relief to political analyst Ashis Nandy by staying the verdict
of the Delhi High Court which had refused to quash criminal
proceedings initiated against him by Gujarat Police for his
article in a national daily allegedly portraying the state in
a bad light.

A bench comprising Justices Altamas Kabir and Cyriac
Joseph also issued notice to the Gujarat Government on the
petition filed by Nandy challenging the High Court order,
which had directed him to submit his grievances before a court
in Ahmedabad.

Advocates Dhyan Krishnan and Gaurang Kanth, appearing for
the academician, submitted that the High Court dismissed his
petition on the assumption that he had challenged the power of
the Metropolitan Magistrate court which ordered registration
of FIR on the basis of a private complaint.

"We had only submitted that a prima facie case is not
made out," the counsel submitted.

The High Court on September 1 had dismissed the petition
filed by Nandy seeking quashing of the FIR registered against
him under section 153A (promoting communal disharmony) and
153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national
integration) of Indian Penal Code.

The state government initiated the proceedings against
him on a complaint filed by V K Saxena, President of the
Ahmedabad-based NGO National Council for Civil Liberties,
alleging that the article written after the last assembly
elections had projected the state in a bad light and promoted
communal disharmony between Hindus and Muslims.

Nandy contended that the FIR was registered out of
malafide intention and was aimed at penalising him for
expressing his bonafide views.

His counsel had in the High Court argued that the state
government has picked up a line from the article published in
the daily and accused him of promoting communal disharmony.

Gujarat government, however, had justified the criminal
prosecution and pleaded with the High Court not to interfere
in the ongoing investigation.

The state government had maintained that the FIR in
this case prima facie discloses the offence under the Criminal
Procedure Code and the court should not interfere and allow
the investigation to be completed.

"It has been held time and again by courts that the power
of quashing criminal proceeding should be exercised sparingly
with circumspection and that too in the rarest of rare cases,"
it had said adding the government had allowed the prosecution
of Nandy after perusing the article.


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