As social activist Swami Agnivesh prepared to enter the reality TV show, Big Boss, his reported comments against Amarnath Yatra came under severe attack from the Supreme Court.
"Religious sentiments of ordinary citizens cannot be taken for granted," the SC said on Tuesday, advising social activist Swami Agnivesh to weigh his words before speaking.
The strong remarks by a bench of Justice HL Dattu and Justice CK Prasad were made during the hearing of Swami Agnivesh's petition that sought to quash a criminal case registered in Hisar against him. The social activist has been accused of hurting the religious sentiments of people following his remarks against the Amarnath Yatra. Earlier, his plea was turned down by the Punjab and Haryana high court.
A reluctant bench was unwilling to accept arguments advanced by senior advocate Gopal Subramanium and Vikram Patralekh in defence of Swami Agnivesh.
"If you have made the statement, you cannot go scot-free," it told the counsel, adding: "So many people go to the yatra. A statement is made, printed in a newspaper and widely circulated. You achieve your purpose and then later realize to have made a mistake."
Despite the court telling Subramanium that his case was on a "sticky wicket," it gave him a week's time to put forth his case. The bench said it will hear the matter on November 14.
"This is just the investigation stage. Why should we intervene now? If you have something to say, tell it to the police," the bench told Subramanium when he wished to show that Swami Agnivesh's statement was mis-reported in the media. The senior counsel's repeated attempts to convince the bench invited a more severe observation. "A person in public life should weigh words ten times before he speaks," said the bench.