Plea Filed to Quash FIRs for Derogatory Statement Against Sufi Saint, Parties to File Response

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The Supreme Court recently received a Petition. The Petition sought to quash FIRs and Police Complaints filed against the Petitioner.

Brief Facts of the Case 

The Petitioner is a host of a TV show “Aar Par”. On June 15 2020, a debate telecasted on the show related to Place of Worship Special Provision Act. In the show, Petitioner called Khwaja Moinuddin Chisthi an “attacker” and “looter”.

Thus, several FIRs filed against the Petitioner due to the statement made by him.

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Thereafter, the Petitioner after this apologised by a tweet on his Twitter handle saying,”In 1 of my debates, I inadvertently referred to ‘Khilji’ as Chishti. I sincerely apologise for this grave error and the anguish it may have caused to followers of the Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti, whom I revere. I have in the past sought blessings at his dargah. I regret this error.”

Petitioner’s submissions

Advocate Vivek Jain filed the Petition on behalf of the Petitioner. The Petition seeks to quash the multiple FIRs against the Petitioner.

The Petition said that, “In a well-orchestrated manner- the Petitioner has been made a victim of countrywide filing of false and baseless criminal complaints and FIRs on the one hand, and on the other hand, Petitioner, his family and his crew have been abused unabashedly on social media and by personal messages by unknown persons. The Petition has also received several death threats from various anti-social elements.”

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Furthermore, the Petitioner submits he made an “inadvertent error” for which he later apologised. Hence, filing FIRs for a mere ‘slip of the tongue’ is unjust and amounts to undue harassment. The petition also stated, “If this starts happening, where people are dealt with for a slip of the tongue, what will happen? Errors people make. He also profusely apologised.”

Court’s Observation 

Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna heard the matter.

The Respondent, who filed the FIR against the Petitioner, refused to accept service. The Bench proceeded ex parte considering deemed service of summons.

“As per the office report dated 14.07.2020, respondent No. 7 has refused to accept service. In that case, it must be treated as deemed to be served, and the matter proceeded ex-parte against Respondent No. 7 if he does not wish to appear on future dates. The matter will now be considered on August 6”. Further, another Complainant served via Whatsapp and Speed Post did not appear.

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The Bench stated that – “also be treated as good service and matter be processed against respondent No. 8 ex-parte if he fails to appear on future dates.”

Due to incomplete Pleadings, the Bench adjourned the Plea. Furthermore, the Bench sought Reply of all the parties within one week. Moreover, even the de-facto Complainants have to file a response.

August 5, 2020, is the next hearing date.


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