No coercive action against comedian Bharti Singh in hurting religious sentiments case: HC to Punjab Police
The Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday restrained Punjab Police from taking coercive steps against comedian Bharti Singh, who has been booked for hurting religious sentiments.
The high court bench of justice Sudip Ahluwalia acted on Bharti Singh’s plea for quashing a first information report (FIR) at Ajnala on December 25 for alleged deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings.
On Thursday, the high court had passed a similar order on the plea of Bollywood actor Raveena Tandon and director Farah Khan, who too have been booked under Section Section 295-A of the Indian Penal Code (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings).
Bharti’s advocate Abhinav Sood said that actress Raveena Tandon and she were asked to spell a word and disclose its meaning on the show. While Tandon spelt it correctly, Bharti misspelt it. It apparently meant that Bharti did not know the word and was referring to another word in Hindi, he had told the court, adding that now what was being construed as hurting religious sentiments was unintentional.
Sood said that the show in question was for entertaining people and it was a non-fiction quiz show. In this situation, no ill intention on the part of Bharti can be attributed by any stretch imagination, he said.
It has been argued before the court that the FIR was based on hearsay, while to establish offence under Section 295-A, it needs to be done deliberately and with intent to outrage the religious feelings of any class. In this case, however, deliberate intention on the part of the petitioner is not made out, it was argued.