Coming down heavily on suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma for her 'disturbing' remark against Prophet Mohammed, the Supreme Court on Friday said it led to unfortunate incidents and ignited emotions across the country.
The court held the remark was made either for cheap publicity, political agenda or some nefarious activities, and said she should have apologised to the whole country.
Sharma's remark against the Prophet, made during the course of a TV debate, triggered protests across the country and invited sharp reactions from many Gulf countries. The BJP had subsequently suspended her from the party.
While refusing to entertain Sharma's plea for clubbing of FIRs lodged against her in various states for the controversial remark, a vacation bench of Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala allowed her to withdraw the plea.
“These remarks are very disturbing and smack of arrogance. What is her business to make such remarks? These remarks have led to unfortunate incidents in the country...These people are not religious. They do not have respect for other religions. These remarks were made for cheap publicity or for political agenda or some other nefarious activities”, the bench said.
The bench said, “The way she ignited emotions across the country has led to unfortunate incidents. This lady is single-handedly responsible for what is happening in the country. We saw the debate”.
The court's observations against the suspended BJP leader come in the backdrop of the brutal murder of a tailor in Udaipur by two men, who had posted videos online that said they were avenging an insult to Islam.
The top court said she has a “loose tongue' and has made all kinds of 'irresponsible statements and claims to be a lawyer of 10 years standing. She should have apologised for her comments to the whole country”.
Senior advocate Maninder Singh, appearing for Sharma, said she had apologised for her remarks.
The bench said, “Her apology came too late and that too conditionally saying if religious sentiments are hurt and so on. She should have been on TV immediately and apologised to the nation”.
The court said her petition smacks of arrogance and that she thinks that the magistrate of the country is too small for her.
Singh said Sharma was spokesperson of a political party and her unintentional comments were in relation to a debate.“If you are a spokesperson of a party, it is not a license to say things like this', the bench said, adding, 'if there was a misuse of the debate, the first thing she should have done was to file an FIR against the anchor”.
Singh said she had reacted to the debate initiated by other debators and pointed to the transcript of the debate.
The bench said, “what was the TV debate for? Was it to fan an agenda and why did they choose a sub-judice topic?”
Referring to various apex court verdicts, Singh said there cannot be a second FIR on the same cause of action.
Justice Kant said she has remedy before the high court and can very well approach it, if there is a second FIR.
Singh then referred to the Arnab Goswami case, and said law has been laid down by the apex court.
The bench said, “The case of a journalist expressing his right on a particular issue is on a different pedestal from a spokesperson of a political party who is lambasting others with irresponsible statements without thinking of the consequences”.
Singh said she has joined the investigation being conducted by the Delhi Police and not running away.
The bench said, “What has happened in the investigation so far? What has Delhi Police done so far? Don’t make us open our mouth. They must have put red carpet for you."
After the hearing for nearly 30 minutes, the bench said it is not convinced with her bonafides and refused to entertain the petition.
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