The Supreme Court Tuesday directed that “no coercive action” can be taken against suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma till the next date of hearing in connection with the complaints filed against her in several states over her remarks on the Prophet during a television debate show.
The top court also said it never intended the BJP leader to visit every court for relief in the hate speech cases against her. “In the light of the subsequent events, the concern of this Court is how to ensure that the petitioner is able to seek alternate remedy. In order to explore such modality, we issue notice,” said a bench of Justices Surya Kant and J B Pardiwala.
On Nupur Sharma’s plea, the bench issued notices to the states where the FIRs and complaints have been filed against her and posted the matter for hearing on August 10.
The same bench had on July 1 declined to entertain her plea, saying she has a “loose tongue” and is “single-handedly responsible for what is happening in the country”, including in Udaipur where a tailor was hacked to death in June for allegedly sharing her remarks.
“To that extent, we are correcting. We did not intend that you have to go all places,” the bench said on Tuesday.
Senior advocate Maninder Singh, who appeared for Sharma, had requested the top court’s permission on July 1 to withdraw the plea instead of having it dismissed. The bench allowed the petition to be withdrawn with liberty to avail alternate remedies.
Nupur Sharma filed a fresh application on July 18 seeking protection from arrest and clubbing of cases against her. “I beseech your Lordships. The threat is genuine and real now,” argued Singh.
“Have we understood correctly that you are willing to go to one place of your choice?” asked the bench.
Singh replied that since the first FIR was registered in Delhi, Sharma must be allowed to challenge it before the Delhi High Court. He also sought a direction from the Supreme Court to stay all other existing and future FIRs that are based on the same telecast during which Sharma made remarks about the Prophet.
The Supreme Court bench noted that after its order on July 1, various incidents including “one Salman Chisti, claiming to be Khadim of Ajmer Dargah has circulated a video calling for killing the petitioner; another person has a circulated a video threatening to behead the petitioner and some more FIRs have been registered.”
It also noted in its order that Sharma has apprehensions of being arrested as the Kolkata police had issued a lookout circular against her