'Blasphemy' Case Hearing: Nupur Sharma’s Plea Before SC Is Based On Well-Settled Principles Of Law

by Anonymous Contributor - Aug 9, 2022 11:03 PM +05:30 IST
'Blasphemy' Case Hearing: Nupur Sharma’s Plea Before SC Is Based On Well-Settled Principles Of LawSupreme Court (Pinakpani/Wikimedia Commons)
Snapshot
  • A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court in TT Antony v. State of Kerala had clearly held that there can be no second FIR where the information concerns the same cognisable offence as alleged in the first FIR.

A bench of Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala had on 19 July protected Nupur Sharma from any coercive action. Sharma had approached the Hon'ble Supreme Court with a plea to quash several FIRs registered against her in different states. Alternatively, a plea was made to club and transfer all the FIRs/complaints to Delhi.

While issuing notice to the State, the court as an interim measure directed that no coercive action should be taken against Sharma pursuant to the already registered FIRs or such as may be registered in future pertaining to the TV Telecast dated 26.05.2022.

As this matter does not concern the merit of FIRs against Sharma, keeping that aside, purely from a procedural form of view, a petition for clubbing of FIRs is one of the most fundamental petitions that can be brought before the Supreme Court. Moreover, when several FIRs concern a single alleged incident.

First and foremost, the law is abundantly clear when it comes to multiple FIRs being lodged in relation to a single cause of action.

A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court in TT Antony v. State of Kerala had clearly held that there can be no second FIR where the information concerns the same cognisable offence as alleged in the first FIR.

The reasoning here was that an investigation covers within its ambit not only the alleged offence, but also any other connected offences that may be found to have been committed. Any further FIR for the same alleged incident would be against the scheme of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The court had said that registering several FIRs is a pure case of abuse of statutory powers of investigation. Hence any such subsequent FIRs are liable to be quashed.

The 'TT Antony case' was relied upon by the Supreme Court in the Arnab Goswami Case too. In Arnab’s case also, keeping aside the first FIR registered in Nagpur, all other FIRs registered in different states was quashed. The one registered in Nagpur was transferred to Mumbai, as was the petitioner’s request.

As 'TT Antony' is authority in matters of multiple FIRs, it would probably be a quick task for the court to quash all the subsequent FIRs filed against Sharma, leaving only the one in Delhi. In this case, as the cause of action is singular, which is the TV Telecast dated 26.05.2022, the expected approach would be to quash all the subsequent FIRs registered against Sharma, and directing the authorities to continue the investigation of the one in Delhi.

Alternatively, if the court agrees to club and transfer the FIRs/Complaints registered in different states to Delhi, that can also be done. Most recently in Mohammed Zubair’s case, the Supreme Court had transferred FIRs registered in different states to Delhi.

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