Nupur Sharma Must Apologise To The Country For Prophet Remark: SC
Nupur Sharma on May 26 had made disparaging remarks against Prophet Mohammad while participating in a debate on Times Now.
The Supreme Court on Friday said ex-BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma must apologise to the country for the "disturbing" remarks she made against Prophet Mohammad. Her callous remarks has set the country on fire resulting in the unfortunate incident at Udaipur where a Hindu tailor was beheaded by two Muslim men after he posted a comment supporting Sharma, the top court added.
"We saw the debate on TV," Supreme Court judge Surya Kant said referring to the May 26 debate on Times Now. "The way she has ignited emotions across the country. This lady is single-handedly responsible for what is happening in the country," he added referring to the violent protests that broke in the aftermath.
Sharma filed a plea in the Supreme Court seeking to transfer multiple FIRs filed against her for the remarks she made against Prophet Mohammad. According to the case title reflected in the causelist, Sharma had registered her name as NV Sharma.
When the bench asked her why she has come to court under a "deceptive name", senior advocate Maninder Singh, who is representing the ex-BJP spokesperson, said that there was a threat against her.
To which, the bench remarked, "She has threat (against her) or she has become a security threat?"
Also Read: Udaipur Tailor Brutally Murdered For Supporting Nupur Sharma, 2 Arrested
Being a party spokesperson does not give one license to say anything: Supreme Court
In a scathing indictment of her behaviour, the Supreme Court said being the spokesperson of a political party did not give Nupur Sharma the license to say anything.
Referring to her apology and withdrawal of comments on the Prophet, the bench said it was too late in the day to withdraw. And that too she withdraws (her remarks) conditionally, saying if sentiments hurt, the bench added.
The top court bench also pointed out that despite the FIR filed against her, the Delhi Police have not yet arrested Sharma. "What has Delhi Police done? Don't make us open our mouth? What was the TV debate for? Only a fan agenda? Why did they (Times Now) choose a sub judice topic?" the bench asked.
Nupur Sharma on May 26, had made disparaging remarks against Prophet Mohammad while participating in a TV debate on the discovery of a "Shivling" in the Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi. The religious character of the Gyanvapi mosque has been challenged in Varanasi courts.
Violent protests broke across the country in the aftermath of the TV debate.
"These acts are done by people who are not religious at all. Her remarks show her obstinate and arrogant character. She should go to those courts (lower courts which have jurisdiction of the FIRs)," Justice Kant said.
When Sharma's counsel senior advocate Maninder Singh said that the remarks were in response to a question posed by Navika Kumar, the anchor who was moderating the TV debate, the Supreme Court said: "If there is a misuse of the debate, the first thing she should have done was to file an FIR against the anchor".
"There was provocation from the other debator," Singh argued. "If this is the position then every citizen will have no right to speak," he added.
"In a democracy, everyone has a right to speak. In a democracy, the grass has a right to grow and the donkey has the right to eat," Justice Kant retorted.
Singh relied on the Supreme Court judgment in the Arnab Goswami matter and said that multiple FIRs filed on a single episode could be clubbed. "Here law laid down is for all citizens," he argued.
"Not all citizens, here a special treatment was meted out to an individual," the bench said referring to the police inaction despite the registration of FIRs. The first FIR against Sharma was filed with the Delhi Police on May 28, two days after the debate was aired. Almost a dozen FIRs have been filed since. In June, Mumbai Police was camped out in Delhi waiting to serve summons, however, Sharma appeared to be "untraceable".
When Singh said that Sharma has joined the police probe, the bench hinted at the special treatment meted out and said, "They must be redcarpeting you."
"The freedom of a journalist cannot be equated to that of a political spokesperson who is making statements on television and igniting emotions across the country," Justice Kant said. "The case of a journalist expressing rights on a particular issue is on a different pedestal from a spokesperson who is lambasting others with irresponsible statements without thinking of the consequences," the bench added.
After a lengthy debate, Sharma withdrew her plea to club the FIRs once the bench indicated that it was not inclined to interfere in this matter.
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