A lawyer Monday approached the Delhi high court seeking transit anticipatory bail in a first information report (FIR) lodged by the Tamil Nadu police for allegedly giving false information claiming attacks on migrant workers in the state.
The FIR has been lodged against Prashant Kumar Umrao, a lawyer, whose verified Twitter handle says he is a spokesperson for Uttar Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party, under various sections of the Indian Penal Code including those for provocation with intent to cause riot, promoting enmity and hatred, provoking breach of peace and statement leading to public mischief, police said.
Tamil Nadu's Thoothukudi Central Police Station has filed the FIR.
The high court is likely to hear the petition on Tuesday.
Umrao, in his petition filed through advocates Kushal Kumar and Harsh Ahuja, claimed the FIR has been wrongly registered against him in the aftermath of certain tweets which he posted on 'Twitter' based on news covered by national news agencies.
'The applicant (Umrao) only gained the knowledge of the said FIR through a press release of the respondent no. 1 (state of Tamil Nadu) and several news articles which have been recently published covering the action initiated by the respondent no. 1 in response to similar tweets and news articles,' the plea said.
The petition said it is clear that the provisions under which the FIR has been registered against Umrao are not even prima facie attracted in the present case, and he is merely being made a 'scapegoat'.
'The applicant is a victim of political rivalry as he is associated with a different political party. The applicant intends to avail his legal remedies under Section 438 of the CrPC. before the courts at Tamil Nadu having jurisdiction in the subject FIR, however, he is having grave apprehension that before he could avail such legal remedies, he would be arrested by the Tamil Nadu police in connection with the FIR,' it said.
The Tamil Nadu police said on March 4 that cases have been filed against several people, including journalists, for allegedly spreading false information claiming attacks on migrant workers in the state.
Police said special teams have been formed under the orders of the Director General of Police and migrant workers of Hindi speaking states are living in peace in Tamil Nadu with safety and security and without fear.
The petition said on March 4, the state police published a press release informing about action being taken against people who published certain information related to migrant labourers being attacked in Tamil Nadu and a case has been registered against the applicant under sections 153, 153(A), 504, and 505 of the IPC.
'In view of the press release, registration of FIR against the applicant and subsequent action of the respondent no. 1, the applicant is seriously apprehending arrest in the subject FIR. The applicant is a resident of NCT of Delhi and is a practicing lawyer before the courts at Delhi. He is a member of Delhi High Court Bar Association. He is also serving as standing counsel for the State of Goa before the Supreme Court,' it said.
It said if he is arrested without any reasonable opportunity to avail his legal remedies owing to his residence in Delhi, the distance and various other factors including the requirement and time to look for and engage a counsel in Tamil Nadu, the right to liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution would stand violated at the hands of the state authorities.