The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a plea by former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma against cases registered in connection her remarks on national television about Prophet Muhammad which had led to violent protests and riots in many States.
The crux of Sharma’s plea was that since there were multiple first information reports (FIRs) registered against her, the same should be consolidated into a single FIR to be investigated by Delhi Police.
However, the first prayer raised by Sharma in her petition was to quash the FIRs while the prayer to consolidate the FIR was the alternative prayer.
Below are the 9 FIRs registered against Sharma in four States – Delhi (1), Maharashtra (5), West Bengal (2) and Telangana (1).
1. Pydhonie Police Station, Mumbai, Maharashtra (May 28)
2. Cyber Cell Police Station, Hyderabad, Telangana (May 30)
3. Mumbra Police Station, Thane, Maharashtra (May 30)
4. Bhiwandi, Thane, Maharashtra (May 30)
5. Kondhwa Police Station, Pune, Maharashtra (May 31)
6. Narkeldanga Police Station, West Bengal (June 4)
7. Delhi Police IFSO, New Delhi (June 6)
8. Nanalpeth Police Station, Parbhani, Maharashtra (June 13)
9. Amherst Police Station, Kolkata, West Bengal
The plea also said that FIRs have been registered against Sharma in Assam, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh though details of the same are not available with the petitioner.
The petition said the FIRs contain baseless allegations which are not borne from the broadcast aired on the news channel.
The plea further contended that the FIRs were filed in quick succession in different parts of the country showing the ill-motive of the cases.
Besides, none of the ingredients of the offences charged against the petitioner were made out thus making it a fit case to quash the FIRs.
Hence, it sought quashing of FIRs.
In the alternative, the plea prayed for clubbing of FIRs.
The petition said that different FIRs in various States will lead to duplicity of proceedings and cause unnecessary harassment to the petitioner.
In this regard, the judgments of the Court in Satinder Singh Bhasin and TT Antony cases were cited.
The plea by Sharma evoked strong reaction from the bench which rebuked Sharma for fanning communal flames across the country.
The Court orally said that she was single-handedly responsible for the communal violence that followed her statements.
Interestingly, many have not taken lightly to the remarks of the top court pointing out that the plea for clubbing of FIRs is a reasonable prayer made by Sharma and also a procedural safeguard laid down by the apex court itself.
While the remarks against Sharma would have been in response to the prayer to quash the FIRs, the plea for clubbing of FIRs seemed a reasonable one.
The Court in this regard did ask petitioner about the status of Delhi Police FIR.
“She has joined probe," Senior Counsel Maninder Singh, who was appearing for Sharma, said.
"Then what happened? There must have been red carpet for you. A red carpet!" the bench remarked.
It seemed the Court was not convinced about the impartiality of the probe by a police force which falls under the party to which Sharma belongs.
That said, the bench could have exercised its powers to club and transfer the case for trial to a State not under the BJP rule.
Multiple FIRs in different States for the same offence is an unhealthy and incorrect precedent.