Shashi Tharoor, Rajdeep Sardesai file plea in top court to quash FIRs
- The Congress leader's petition seeks quashing of the nine first information reports (FIRs) pending against him in Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.
Congress Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor has approached the Supreme Court challenging the registration of FIRs against him in several states arising out of his “misleading” tweets over the death of a young protestor during the tractor rally organized in the Capital on January 26.
His petition seeks quashing of the nine first information reports (FIRs) pending against him in Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka. Along with him, journalist Rajdeep Sardesai has also petitioned the top court for quashing of criminal cases. The petition was filed on Wednesday and the Supreme Court is yet to number the case for listing.
In the petition, Tharoor and Sardesai have sought protection of their fundamental right to free speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. The genesis of the cases against them was a fleet of tweets in which Tharoor and Sardesai attributed the death of a protestor during the tractor rally in the Capital to police firing. Tharoor later deleted the tweet after coming to know that the reported incident was false as the death was due to an accident involving the protestor who had rammed the police barricades.
On January 30, the Delhi Police lodged a case against Tharoor, Sardesai and several others for alleged misreporting and spreading disharmony. Simultaneously, cases were lodged at Gurugram in Haryana and in Madhya Pradesh under serious charges of sedition (IPC Section 124A) besides provisions of promoting enmity (IPC Section 153A), making assertions prejudicial to national integration (IPC Section 153B), among other provisions under the Information Technology Act.
Tharoor and Sardesai have further stated that the multiple FIRs against them were a malafide exercise that was politically motivated as the contents of the FIRs were identical. The other people who have been named in these FIRs also have reportedly approached the top court seeking similar relief. They include journalists Mrinal Pande, Zafar Agha, Paresh Nath, Anant Nath and Vinod Jose.