Published On: Mon, Mar 20th, 2023

SC transfers 3 FIRs lodged against Pawan Khera to Lucknow for remarks against PM Modi

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday clubbed three FIRs lodged against Congress leader Pawan Khera in Assam and Uttar Pradesh for allegedly making objectionable remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and transferred the matter to the Hazratganj police station in Lucknow while extending his interim bail to April 10.

We have protected you (Khera), but there has to be some level of discourse

Khera will be at liberty to apply for regular bail before the jurisdictional court in Lucknow, a bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud said. “We order and direct that the FIRs registered at Police Station Cantt at Varanasi and at PS Halflong in Assam shall stand transferred to Police Station Hazratganj.

The ad-interim order (of interim bail) which was passed by this court on February 23, 2023 (extended by the orders dated February 27, March 3) shall be extended for the further period till April 10,” the bench, also having Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala, said.

The apex court, from time to time, had been extending the interim bail of Khera who was arrested by the Assam Police on February 23 in connection with his alleged remarks against Modi made at a press conference in Mumbai on February 17.

The Congress spokesperson was arrested from the Delhi airport after he was de-boarded from a plane that was supposed to take him to Raipur. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, referring to the rejoinder filed by Khera, alleged that the leader himself has not tendered an unconditional apology and in rejoinder, he said that he did no wrong.

“Even after the Lordships’ order, the official handle of the party (Congress) to which petitioner belongs has kept on tweeting the same thing which should not have happened. It has never happened in the past in the Indian political discourse. A person who is not part of public life is maligned like this,? the law officer said, adding that Khera must control such activities of his party.

“During the course of the hearing, the counsel for the petitioner has reiterated that the petitioner stands by the unconditional apology which was tendered on behalf of the petitioner by Dr A M Singhvi, who appeared on February 23,? the bench noted in its order, adding that it will go by the apology tendered by the senior lawyer representing Khera.

Of the three FIRs, two were lodged at the Cantonment police station in Varanasi and the Hazratganj police station in Lucknow. The third FIR was lodged in Assam. The solicitor general said that he has no problem with clubbing the FIRs and that they can be clubbed and transferred to Assam for investigation and subsequent trial.

“The first FIR is at Lucknow. The practice is to club it to the place where the first FIR was registered,? the bench observed. The counsel, appearing for Khera, sought an adjournment saying that senior lawyer Singhvi was not available and the case be listed for hearing next Monday as they wanted it to be transferred to Delhi to ensure a fair trial in the matter.

The bench rejected the submissions and went ahead to decide and dispose of Khera’s plea. Earlier, the Assam and Uttar Pradesh governments, in their separate affidavits, opposed Khera’s plea seeking clubbing of FIRs lodged against him, claiming that his party was still continuing with the “very same low level” on their social media accounts.

The Uttar Pradesh government had sought dismissal of the plea with a cost by terming it “misconceived” and “an attempt to leapfrogging the routine procedure available under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC)”.

“It is submitted that the leaders of the political party (Congress) to which the petitioner (Khera) belongs have, even after this hon’ble court taking cognizance of the matter, continued the very same low level in their official Twitter handles and other social media accounts,” the Assam government had said.

Khera obtained bail from a magisterial court here on February 23 after the CJI-led bench granted him interim bail during an urgent hearing earlier in the day. “In order to enable the petitioner (Khera) to apply for regular bail before the jurisdictional court, upon the FIRs being transferred to one jurisdiction, we direct that the petitioner shall be released on interim bail by the court of the competent magistrate at Delhi where he is to be produced this evening,” the apex court had said.

“The above order shall remain in operation till February 28,” it had said. The apex court had issued notices to Assam and Uttar Pradesh, seeking their responses on Khera’s plea for transferring and clubbing together three separate FIRs lodged against him in the two states.

After dictating the order, the CJI had apparently expressed his displeasure over Khera’s remarks and observed: “We have protected you (Khera), but there has to be some level of discourse.”

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By :