The Supreme Court in Friday came down heavily upon former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma for her remarks on national television about Prophet Muhammad which had led to violent protests and riots in many States [NV Sharma vs Union of India].
A bench of Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala said that Sharma is single-handedly responsible for fanning flames across India and should apologise to the whole nation.
"The way she has ignited emotions across the country. This lady is single-handedly responsible for what is happening in the country. We saw the debate on how she was incited. But they way she said all this and later says she was a lawyer, it is shameful. She should apologise to the whole country," Justice Kant said.
The bench also took a grim view of the television channel for hosting the discussion in which Sharma, who was one of the guests, made the controversial remarks.
The debate was on the Gyanvapi case which is currently pending before the Court.
"What was the TV debate for? Only to fan a agenda? Why did they choose a sub judice topic," the Court demanded.
The Court was hearing a plea filed by Sharma to transfer FIRs registered against her in different parts of the country to Delhi.
The bench was, however, not impressed.
"What has Delhi police done? Don't make us open our mouth," the bench remarked.
Senior Counsel Maninder Singh, representing Sharma, said that it is settled law that there cannot be multiple FIRs for the same offence.
In this regard, he cited the judgment of the Supreme Court in Arnab Goswami case and TT Antony case.
"There was no intention. It was again and again said that the shivling was just a fountain or a fawarra. This was said by the debater on the other side and not the anchor. this is the position then every citizen will have no right to speak," he said.
"Multiple FIRs on the same incident cannot happen," Singh underscored.
"The freedom of a journalist cannot be equated to that of a political spokesperson who is making statements on television and ignites emotions across the country," the bench said.
It was also particularly critical of Delhi Police for its inaction.
"What happened in that FIR (by Delhi Police)," the bench asked
"She has joined probe," Singh said
"Then what happened? There must have been red carpet for you. A red carpet!" the bench remarked.
"Even Satinder Singh Bhasin got a similar treatment where similar FIRs were clubbed. He was a businessman and not a journalist. He was not put in double jeopardy," Singh replied.
He further said that the Supreme Court has laid down the yardstick for multiple FIRs.
"This court has laid down a yardstick for multiple FIRs. Treatment of law should be equal," he said.
"When you register a FIR against someone then they are arrested but not you. This shows your clout," the bench responded.
Sharma eventually proceeded to withdraw the case after the Court made it clear that it will not entertain the plea.
The plea by Sharma was filed through Advocate-on-Record Rachitta Rai.
Read live account of the hearing below.