Dalit remarks row: Ashis Nandy moves SC, hearing Friday
New Delhi: Renowned sociologist Ashis Nandy, who has landed in a soup over his controversial remarks on Dalits, moved the Supreme Court on Thursday requesting it to quash all FIRs filed against him.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir agreed to hear his plea and posted the case for Friday.
Seeking an urgent hearing, advocate Aman Lekhi, appearing for Nandy, pleaded the apex court to intervene in the matter as there is "serious apprehension" of him being arrested.
"The registration of the FIR is itself an abuse of law and there is imminent danger of the same being compounded as the petitioner is being denied of his fundamental rights under Article 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution, because of the clamour for his immediate arrest from important political personalities including Mayawati and Chairman SC and ST Commission PL Punia," the petition, filed through advocate Gaurang Kanth, said.
Nandy's controversial remarks linking Dalits and other backward classes with corruption during a panel discussion at the recently concluded Jaipur Literature Festival have created massive furore.
"Because of the surcharged environment against him and the rabid statements made by important political personalities, his physical safety is itself compromised and there is imminent threat of injury to him," the petition said.
"In fact there was no mala fide intent or purpose on the part of the petitioner to make a comment in order to insult or intimidate with intent to humiliate a member of SC or ST in any place within public view," he said.
"The lodging of the said FIR against the petitioner for the alleged offence committed under SC/ST Act is against the basic principles of the fundamental rights which envisages that free speech is the foundation of a democratic society," the petition said.
Meanwhile, a team from the Jaipur Police is in the national capital to question Nandy, after they sent him a notice requiring him to appear before the investigation officer for questioning.
Speaking of how people long denied power were wresting it from the established elite, Nandy had said that Dalits, tribals and other backward classes (OBCs) were engaged in “corruption”, by which he meant that these groups functioned without being constrained by law or propriety in their bid to better their plight.
Nandy claimed that he was making an academic argument about corruption being an equaliser and that his comment was misinterpreted.
He also denied receiving any summons from the Rajasthan Police and said that he was ready to be jailed for his comment. "If at 75, I am tried under the atrocities act and convicted then I'll go to jail, I'll not contest it because I have worked for Dalits and adivasis for 45 years and I am not going to take this insult. I will go to jail," he said.
Conviction under FIR under Section 3(1) of the SC/ST Act, which is non-bailable invites up to 10-year in jail.