Amish Devgan case: SC refuses to quash FIRs, extends interim protection

The court directed that all the FIRs filed against him in different states be transferred to the police station in Ajmer

Amish Devgan (Photo Courtesy: Social Media)
Amish Devgan (Photo Courtesy: Social Media)

NH Web Desk

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to quash the First Information Reports (FIRs) filed against television anchor Amish Devgan for making derogatory remarks against Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, whom he referred to as a “lootera” in one of his shows, even as it extended the interim protection from arrest granted earlier to the anchor.

The court also directed that all the FIRs filed against him in different states be transferred to the police station in Ajmer, Bar & Bench reported.

Several FIRs had been lodged against Amish Devgan in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Telangana after he used a derogatory term for the Sufi saint on his debate news show called Aar Paar aired on June 15 this year.

The Bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Sanjiv Khanna had earlier reserved judgment in the plea by journalist Amish Devgan seeking to quash FIRs registered against him.

He later tweeted an apology saying that he was actually referring to Muslim ruler Alauddin Khilji and inadvertently ended up naming Chisti instead. Devgan tweeted the clarification on his personal Twitter account on the intervening night of June 16-17. The channel also carried a video clarification featuring the journalist, the plea states.

The anchor then moved the Supreme Court, seeking quashing of the FIRs, stay on the investigation, and protection from any coercive action for his alleged comments against the Sufi saint.

During the course of the hearings, Senior Advocate Sidharth Luthra, arguing for Devgan, had submitted that there was no “incitement of hate” or any attempt to “instigate a particular community against the other.” He further argued that Devgan would be entitled to the benefit under Section 95 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as the inadvertent slip of the tongue that led to taking the Sufi saint’s name could only have caused “slight harm.”

The Bench also pondered upon whether the apology tendered by Devgan over Twitter and through a video message was an afterthought following criticism on social media, or whether it was an honest face-saving exercise.

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Published: 07 Dec 2020, 1:00 PM