The Supreme Court has given a clean chit to an American scholar being prosecuted by the Maharashtra Police for allegedly promoting animosity between communities through his book on the legendary Maratha warrior Shivaji.
A three-Judge Bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan restrained the state police from proceeding further against Professor James W Laine, the author of “Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India”, which, on its release by publisher Oxford University Press of India in 2003, had led to an agitation by the Shambhaji Brigade in Pune.
An FIR was then lodged against Prof Laine, a teacher of religious studies, Macalester College, USA, and the book was withdrawn from circulation.
The Bench while reversing a Bombay High Court order on the issue observed, “Prof. James W. Laine, the author of the book has exercised his reason and his own analytical skills before choosing any literature which he intends to include in his book. It is very improbable to imagine that any serious and intense scholar will attempt to malign the image of this glorious Institute.”
Review of Police reforms
Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab have sought review of Supreme Court's September 22, 2006 order on police reforms to make the police force more effective, accountable and free from political interference. Meanwhile, the Centre and several other states and Union Public Service Commission expressed their reservations regarding various directives of the judgment and sought “modification” of the order. The court has fixed April 30 for hearing all these modification applications.
Orissa plea dismissed
The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed Orissa Government's plea for allowing Justice S N Naidu of the Orissa High Court to continue as chairman of the commission probing into the Kalinganagar police firing of January 1, 2006. A Bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat turned down the state's plea on the basis of its earlier ruling that no sitting judge of a High Court or the apex court could head a commission of inquiry except in compelling circumstances. Fifteen lives were lost when police opened fire on the farmers protesting the acquisition of land by the government for facilitating the setting up of an aluminium smelter by the Tatas.
Relief for Mohanty
The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Rajasthan Police not to arrest for six weeks Senior Orissa IPS officer BB Mohanty, charged with helping his rape convict son Bitihotra Mohanty escape while on parole. Bitihotra has been convicted of raping a German girl.