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SC refuses to quash FIRs against Congress leader for 'objectionable' tweet

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 30-05-2020 00:07 IST | Created: 29-05-2020 23:48 IST
SC refuses to quash FIRs against Congress leader for 'objectionable' tweet
Representative image Image Credit: ANI

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a plea of Haryana Congress leader Pankaj Punia, who was arrested by Haryana police for allegedly "hurting religious feelings" through a social media post, that other FIRs against him for the same post in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh be quashed. A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, S A Nazeer, and Indira Banerjee did not agree to the submission of senior advocate Sanjay Hegde, appearing for Punia, that the FIRs lodged in UP and MP be quashed as the person is already facing criminal probe for the same alleged offense.

"We are not inclined to entertain this petition filed under Article 32 (right to move the Supreme Court) of the Constitution of India. The writ petition is, accordingly, dismissed," the bench said in its order. The top court, however, granted the liberty to Punia to move the concerned High Courts for quashing of other FIRs.

The lawyer said that besides the FIR lodged at Karnal in Haryana, other similar FIRs have been lodged against the leader at Noida and Lucknow in UP and a place in MP. Earlier, Punia was arrested by police in Karnal for allegedly "hurting religious feelings" through a social media post.

Punia, a former secretary of Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee, was arrested on May 20 following a written complaint by a Karnal resident at Madhuban police station that he allegedly "hurt religious feelings" and "promoted enmity between different groups on ground of religion" through his tweet, a police official had said. A similar complaint against Punia, also a member of the All India Congress Committee, was registered by the Uttar Pradesh Police also.

An FIR was registered against Punia at the Hazratganj Police Station in Lucknow for his alleged objectionable tweet. The Haryana police had said in the case registered in Madhuban police station, Punia has been booked under IPC sections related to promoting enmity between different groups (153 A), outraging religious feelings (295 A), public mischief (505-2), and Section 67 of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act 2008.

Punia in his tweet, now removed, had targeted the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh, referring to the politics over plying of buses by the Congress for ferrying migrants.


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