Cong leader Kidwai booked for hate speech acquitted

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: May 28, 2014 21:23 IST

Judicial magistrate Karanvir Singh Maju acquitted Congress leader and chairman of party's minority cell, Imran Kidwai, who was booked for making a hate speech during the 2009 parliamentary elections while campaigning for Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal, here on Wednesday.

"A case against Kidwai was not made out and section 25 of the Representation Act applies only in cases where one's act or speech creates hatred among communities, which was not the case. He referred to BJP in his speech, which is a political party and not community," said advocate Pawan Kumar Sharma who represented Kidwai, while speaking to HT.

The case also fell flat in the court after two employees of the estate office, who were on duty at the ground where the speech was made, denied their presence inside the pandal.

It is pertinent to mention here that during the rally held opposite Jama Masjid in Sector 20 on March 15, 2009, comprising primarily Muslim population, Kidwai had stated: "Main mufti nahin hoon iska mujhe afsos hai kyunki mufti log hamare yahan fatawa de sakte hain. Aur agar main mufti hota to sirf ek fatwa deta ki musalmaan ka BJP ke sath jana kufr ke barabar hai. (I regret not being a cleric. Only clerics can issue a fatwa. If I were a cleric, the only fatwa I would issue would be that to vote for BJP is like committing a sin)."

He further said that some people of the community still joined and voted for the BJP seeking personal benefits. Party general secretary Mohsina Kidwai was also present at the rally.

The BJP had sent a complaint to the election commission stating that the speech was in violation of the code of conduct and could fuel communal hatred. UT chief electoral officer Pradip Mehra had sent a report to the EC, along with a CD containing Kidwai's speech. Following this, a case was registered on the recommendation of the EC.

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