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Prophet row: SC directs Delhi police to probe all FIRs against Nupur Sharma

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Hemant Waje
Last updated on: August 10, 2022 20:41 IST
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The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed clubbing and transfer of all present and future FIRs lodged across the country against suspended Bharatiya Janata Party spokeswoman Nupur Sharma to the Delhi police in connection with her remark on the Prophet made during a TV debate show.

A bench of Justices Surya Kant and J B Pardiwala also extended the interim protection from any coercive action to Sharma till the probe is concluded by the Intelligence Fusion & Strategic Operations (IFSO) of the Delhi Police.

It said IFSO shall be at liberty to take assistance from other police forces to take the case to a logical end.

"Since this court has already taken cognizance of the serious threat to life and security of the petitioner (Sharma), we direct that all FIRs against Nupur Sharma be transferred and clubbed for the investigation to the Delhi Police.

 

"In particular facts and circumstances, we clarify and deem it appropriate that the investigation is carried out by Delhi police. The petitioner shall be at Liberty to pursue her rights and remedies by approaching Delhi High Court for quashing the current and future FIRs," the bench said.

The top court allowed Sharma to move Delhi high court for quashing of FIRs lodged over her remark and said all future FIRs would also be transferred to Delhi Police for investigation.

At the outset, senior advocate Maninder Singh, appearing for Sharma, said the apex court's intervention has been sought due to the extraordinary situation caused by the threats received by Sharma following the telecast of the show. 

The senior lawyer said that she was receiving summons from the West Bengal police despite the apex court order.

Objecting to the transfer of FIRs to Delhi, Guruswamy submitted that the first FIR against the petitioner was registered in Mumbai.

"The accused cannot be allowed to pick the jurisdiction. And the maximum impact of her statements is caused in West Bengal. The maximum amount of impact and outrage has been caused in West Bengal. Delhi is not on the list. I don't understand why my friend is pushing for Delhi. Should we create a situation today where the accused is allowed to pick jurisdiction? she said.

 Guruswamy said no new circumstances have emerged in the case and the West Bengal government will provide security to Sharma.

"What they are doing is forum shopping," she said while seeking that a court-appointed SIT may carry out an investigation.

"The prayer they are asking in this application was rejected by this court earlier. This issue has unfortunately inflamed the country. There have been politicians on both sides who have come out in support of this statement. I propose a joint SIT which is monitored by this court. Supreme Court as a moral authority can look into this. My friends have not come with clean hands," she said.

The top court said it was not inclined to go into the merits of the allegations and counter allegations.

On the issue of monitoring the SIT probe as sought by Guruswamy, the apex court said there will be undue and undesirable pressure on investigative agencies when the court is monitoring the investigation.

"Investigating agencies should have an independent atmosphere to work in. Let's not create a situation where everybody is under stress. Clubbing of FIRs is necessary because of the grave situation which has arisen," the bench said.  

The top court said that it would club all the FIR registered against Sharma with the FIR registered in Delhi and direct the investigation to be carried out by Delhi police. 

It also refused to keep pending the petition filed by Sharma and asked the parties to approach it in case of any clarification. 

The telecast dated May 26, 2022, on the TV channel Times Now has led to the registration of various FIRs and complaints against the petitioner in different parts of the country.

Sharma's remark on the Prophet during a TV debate had triggered protests across the country and drew sharp reactions from many Gulf countries. The BJP subsequently suspended her from the party.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Hemant Waje© Copyright 2022 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
 
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