14 Aug 2023 1:27 PM GMT
The Supreme Court on Monday granted two week long protection to Professor Kham Khan Suan Hausing from coercive actions in two criminal cases against him in Manipur. The bench comprising CJI DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala, and Justice Manoj Misra passed the order.The Court noted that there was a criminal complaint instituted against Prof Hausing in the court of CJM Imphal for offences...
The Supreme Court on Monday granted two week long protection to Professor Kham Khan Suan Hausing from coercive actions in two criminal cases against him in Manipur. The bench comprising CJI DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala, and Justice Manoj Misra passed the order.
The Court noted that there was a criminal complaint instituted against Prof Hausing in the court of CJM Imphal for offences under Sections 153A, 200, 295A, 290A, 505(1), and 120B. In this case, as per the CJM's order, summons were were issued to the petitioner. Apart from this criminal complaint, an FIR had also been registered against Prof Hausing in the Imphal police station over allegations of fabricating evidence to enrol in electoral roll.
Senior Advocate Anand Grover, appearing for Prof Hausing, requested that his client be granted a similar protection as Deeksha Dwivedi, the advocate against whom an FIR registered by the Manipur police after she took part in a fact-finding mission regarding Manipur violence. It may be noted that Dwivedi was granted interim protection from arrest to enable her to approach the High Court.
"The situation in Manipur is very tense. Many professors have also faced this. Some have even fled. Instead of a civil proceeding, they have launched a criminal investigation against me."
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the State of Manipur, told the bench that there were two cases against Prof Hausing. The first was a criminal complaint instituted against him with regards his interview with 'The Wire', where he allegedly insulted the Meitei community. In this complaint, summons were issued against Hausing. The second case concerned an FIR filed by a private complainant for initiating an investigation into Hausing's alleged acts of fabricating a document on basis of which he got his name registered in an electoral roll. Opposing the maintainability of the petition, SG Mehta asserted that an Article 32 petition could not be invoked against a judicial order. In this context, he cited the judgement in Naresh Shridhar Mirajkar & Ors v. State Of Maharashtra.
Per contra, Grover contended that both the complaints were motivated by the same Wire interview.
At this juncture, the CJI said–
"You can pray for anticipatory bail Mr Grover."
"If I ask for anticipatory bail, I'll have to be present in Imphal. No Kukis are there. I cannot go and be subjected to torture in Imphal."
However, the bench found it appropriate to let Prof Hausing approach the appropriate court for anticipatory bail.
The CJI, while dictating the order, said–
"In so far as the case arising out of the FIR is concerned, it is open to the petitioner to seek favourable reliefs including anticipatory bail before the competent court. The petitioner would be at liberty to pursue remedies before the competent court under Section 438 of CrPC. In order to facilitate the petitioner in seeking access to appropriate remedies available in law, for a period of two weeks from today no coercive steps shall be taken against him. However, this direction shall not be construed as an expression of this court on the merits of the case."
Professor Kham Khan Suan Hausing, who serves as the Head of the Department for Political Science at the University of Hyderabad, found himself in legal trouble after he was issued a summons notice by the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal East, on July 6, 2023. He stands accused of defaming the Metei community during an interview with journalist Karan Thapar on 'The Wire.' As a result, he is facing charges under Sections 153A (promoting enmity on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, or language), 200 (knowingly declaring something false), 295(A) (deliberate acts to outrage religious feeling), 298 (verbally outraging religious feelings), 505(1), and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.
The charges against Hausing were filed by Manihar Moirangthem Singh, a member of the Meitei Tribe Union, who alleged that the professor made false statements to defame the Meitei community, leading to heightened communal enmity.
Case Title: Kham Khan Suan Hausing v. The State Of Manipur And Ors. W.P.(Crl.) No. 311/2023 PIL-W
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