Supreme Court stays arrest of Shashi Tharoor, Rajdeep Sardesai and 5 other journalists
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court barred any agency from arresting Congress leader MP Shashi Tharoor, Rajdeep Sardesai and 5 other journalist. The case was filed against them over their tweets in connection with the Republic Day tractor rally violence in New Delhi.
While hearing a petition challenging registration of multiple first information reports (FIRs) against Congress leader Shashi Tharoor and 6 other journalists, the apex court put a stay on their arrest. Delhi Police filed the complaint against Tharoor and others for allegedly sharing certain unconfirmed news on the death of a protester at ITO during the tractor rally on Republic Day.
The FIR’s were filed against Tharoor and journalists Rajdeep Sardesai, Mrinal Pande, Zafar Agha, Paresh Nath, Anant Nath, and Vinod K Jose. Tharoor, Sardesai and other journalist filed petitions to quash the multiple FIRs pending against them in several states. They sought protection of their fundamental rights.
Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde headed a three judge bench, which comprised of Justice AS Bopanna and Justice V Ramasubramanian. The bench issued the notice on their petition.
The court said, “Issue notice. Stay of arrest in the meantime. List after two weeks.”
The court further added, “The stay on the arrest will continue till the next date of hearing, after two weeks.” The bench issued notices to Delhi Police and Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Haryana.
The Delhi Police has opposed the stay on the arrest.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appeared on behalf of Delhi Police and said, “We will show the horrendous effect these tweets have had. These Twitter handles have lakhs of followers.”
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Tharoor, said that interim protection was needed as Tharoor is in Delhi and the charge is serious.
On January 30, a case was lodged against Tharoor, Sardesai and several others for alleged spreading fake news and disharmony. After this case, other FIR’s were lodged at Gurugram in Haryana and in Madhya Pradesh under serious charges of sedition. According to the complainant, the seven accused spread fake news about protester Navreet Singh’s death in Delhi on January 26 and blamed Delhi Police inorder to “instigate violence”.
The cases will be taken up for hearing two weeks later.