Sulli Deals app: SC to hear plea seeking clubbing of FIRs

Updated on Aug 13, 2022 06:05 AM IST

The app uploaded photos of several Muslim women, without their consent, for a virtual ‘auction’.

A bench of justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh issued notices to states of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Delhi where the FIRs against Thakur are currently pending under charges of online harassment and hate speech. (HT Photo)
A bench of justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh issued notices to states of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Delhi where the FIRs against Thakur are currently pending under charges of online harassment and hate speech. (HT Photo)
By, New Delhi

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to examine a petition by the alleged creator of Sulli Deals app, Aumkareshwar Thakur, for clubbing multiple first information reports (FIRs) against him and hand over the probe to a single agency.

The app uploaded photos of several Muslim women, without their consent, for a virtual ‘auction’.

A bench of justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh issued notices to states of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Delhi where the FIRs against Thakur are currently pending under charges of online harassment and hate speech.

The court, however, refused to consider Thakur’s plea to stay the investigations at this juncture, saying it will only seek replies from the states for the time being to ascertain whether the FIRs can at all be clubbed when the complainants before the investigators could be more than one.

While advocate Rajeev Sharma, representing Thakur, argued that the subject matter of all FIRs is the same, the court pointed out that the cases relate to two different websites – Sulli Deals and Bulli Bai, which is similar to Sulli Deals and engaged in defaming and trolling Muslim women online.

“That cannot be the same offence. There are two websites. One is Sulli Deals and the other is Bulli Bai. Can that be said to be conjoint? There are multiple uploads. Each person would have filed independently,” said the bench.

It added: “It may not be the part of the same transaction. You have uploaded photographs of several persons. Each one of them can be a complainant. Can you say they must prosecute a joint FIR? Can you say whatever you do on your websites, there can only be one FIR?”

As the bench agreed to seek replies from the states on Thakur’s plea, his lawyer requested a stay of the investigation in the meantime. But the bench retorted: “Only notice...we have our doubts.”

In his petition filed through advocate Sahil Bhalaik, Thakur pleaded with the top court to shift all the criminal cases against him to one place and to one agency, as was done by the court in several other cases. The plea maintained that the accusations against him in the FIRs pertain to developing the two websites and therefore, they could be investigated by a single agency.

Thakur was arrested in January after an outrage over derogatory apps and online harassment of Muslim women. Thakur, who is now out on bail, holds a BCA degree, had allegedly developed the code for the Sulli Deals app on GitHub.

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