The Court was hearing a plea of Prashant Bhushan seeking quashing of an FIR registered against him for “hurting Hindu religious sentiments” through his tweets
The Bench of Supreme Court Justices Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna granted Advocate Prashant Bhushan two weeks’ protection from arrest in relation to an FIR filed against him for allegedly hurting religious sentiments.
Bhushan had made comments on Twitter against Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, who tweeted a picture of himself watching the Ramayana serial amidst the national lockdown.
Prashant Bhushan had tweeted:
“As crores starve and walk hundreds of miles home due to the lockdown, our heartless ministers celebrate consuming and feeding the opium of Ramayana & Mahabharata to the people!”
Justice Ashok Bhushan observed that no one can direct anyone to watch something on TV.
“Anybody can watch anything on TV. How can you say people cannot watch this and that?”
To this, Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for Bhushan, said,
“It was not about people watching TV, but the FIR in question.”
Bhushan further stated in his plea that his retweets were valid criticism of the government, and that it cannot be termed as an offence under Section 505 (1)(b) of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with the act of creating alarm or fear to the public inducing them to commit an offence against public tranquility.
The Bench issued notice to the State of Gujarat to reply within two weeks. Till then the Court has ordered that “no coercive action” is to be taken against Bhushan.