The Supreme Court has stayed the Punjab and Haryana High Court's imposition of costs on Tehseen Poonawala for 'insulting' Jain Saint Tarun Sagar in Twitter.
The High court, in a controversial order, had imposed costs of Rupees Ten Lakhs each on Poonawala and Vishal Dadlani even though it found that the criminal cases registered against them are liable to be quashed.
The bench comprising Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Justice Surya Kant issued notice in the Special Leave Petition filed by Poonawala.
Vishal Dadlani, in his tweets had criticized Tarun Sagar's nude appearance as well as the action of the Haryana Government in calling a religious Guru in the Legislative Assembly. Tehseen Poonawala had put semi nude photograph of a lady by way of a Photoshop with the Jain saint and has raised a finger towards his character by comparing him with a slut. On the basis of complaint filed by one Puneet Arora, an FIR was registered against the duo alleged offences under Sections 295-A, 153-A and 509 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 66E of the Information Technology Act.
In a detailed order, the Court noted that all these offences are liable to be quashed against the duo. Curiously, the court observed: "In recent years, the country has witnessed large scale violent protest on incitement made by using social media platform, thereby, causing extensive damage to public property. However, the preachings of Jain Muni Tarun Sagar about non-violence, sacrifices and forgiveness, has avoided repetition of such like protest. Therefore, it would be appropriate to impose the costs of `10 lacs each on the petitioner – Vishal Dadlani and the petitioner – Tehseen Poonawala, so that in future they may not mock at any head of a religious sect, just to gain publicity on social media like Twitter."
The court the directed Poonawala to deposit 5 Lakhs with the Tarun Kranti Manch Trust (Regd.) (a Trust created by late Jain Muni Tarun Sagar) and another 5 lakhs with the Poor Patient's Fund (Prabh Aasra) in Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (P.G.I.M.E.R.) at Chandigarh. Vishal Dadlani was directed to deposit the costs of 5 Lakhs with the Shri Digamber Jain Mandir Trust, Sector 27, Chandigarh and 5 lakhs with the Punjab and Haryana High Court Advocates Welfare Fund. FIR and all other proceedings arising therefrom are ordered to be quashed subject to payment of costs on or before 01.09.2019, failing which these petitions will be deemed to be dismissed, the court had said.
Click here to Read/Download HC Order
Click here to Read/Download Order