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'The More You Publicise It The More You Serve Her Cause':Supreme Court Disposes Off Plea Seeking Censoring Of Kangana Ranaut's Social Media Posts

Mehal Jain
21 Jan 2022 12:18 PM GMT
The More You Publicise It The More You Serve Her Cause:Supreme Court Disposes Off Plea Seeking Censoring Of Kangana Ranauts Social Media Posts
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Recording that the petitioner-in-person has already instituted a private complaint for actor Kangana Ranaut's outbursts against the Sikh community over protests against the now-repealed three farm laws, and that the prayer for the clubbing of all FIRs lodged is not pressed, the Supreme Court on Friday disposed off the plea seeking censoring of her Social Media posts.The plea moved by lawyer...

Recording that the petitioner-in-person has already instituted a private complaint for actor Kangana Ranaut's outbursts against the Sikh community over protests against the now-repealed three farm laws, and that the prayer for the clubbing of all FIRs lodged is not pressed, the Supreme Court on Friday disposed off the plea seeking censoring of her Social Media posts.

The plea moved by lawyer and petitioner-in-person Sardar Charanjeet Singh Chanderpal sought a direction to Union Home Ministry, IT Ministry, TRAI and State Police Authorities of different states to take Preventive action on social media against Kangana Ranaut. The petition also prayed for all FIRs lodged against Ranaut across the country to be clubbed together and to be investigated by the Mumbai police.
At the outset, Justice Chandrachud asked Mr. Chanderpal, "You want all FIRs to be clubbed and investigated exclusively by the Khar police? Who are you to do all this? You are not the accused, you are not the complainant, you are some person in the public, you are a member of the bar..."
Mr. Chanderpal replied, "At the outset, your lordships may appreciate that my family is a staunch Nanakpanthi Hindu Sikh family, though registered as Hindu but we follow the Sikh tenets from childhood. In 98, I was baptised as a Sikh, and the community has a lot of impact on lakhs of people around the world, like me"
Justice Chandrachud remarked, "we respect those beliefs, we respect the sensitivities of the community, please don't take it otherwise. The issue we are dealing with is a narrow issue. The FIRs may be filed against a person in five different states or 10 different states or 15 different states. You are a member of the public. You are saying that all these FIRs should be investigated by a particular agency namely the Mumbai police? This relief we cannot grant. This is not a PIL"
The judge continued to observe, "If a person has said something which is the subject matter of an investigation by the police, we are not saying anything about it at all. That is being investigated by the police, subject to the rights of the accused. But we cannot carry out this function of clubbing all FIRs. If the accused comes here and says 'there are 25 FIRs in different states, please club', then we can do it but not at the behest of a third party"
Justice Chandrachud indicated that another prayer in the petition is for preventive action on social media against respondent no. 17 (Ranaut), that "none of her posts should be allowed without suitable Deletion, censoring, modification to maintain law and order in the country".
"Why should you come under 32 to the Supreme Court? You have remedies under the CrPC", pointed out the judge
Mr. Chanderpal sought to indicate the gravity of the utterances which have been made by Ranaut.
Justice Chandrachud said, "The remedy that you seek is not based on the qualitative nature of the utterances. Don't seek to prejudice the mind of the court by referring to the utterances. We have read the utterances. The question is what is the remedy. Can you come under 32 when your remedy is under the ordinary criminal process?"
"I have already made a formal complaint...But Can a person be permitted to be so reckless that time and again she goes to say these things that Sikhs should adopt late Mrs Indira Gandhi as a 'guru'?", urged Mr. Chanderpal
At this, Justice Chandrachud said, "Don't politicise it now by giving wind to what she has said. You are doing your cause a disservice by publicising what she has said. The more you publicise it, the more you serve her cause. So please stop repeating"
"It has hurt us very badly. People don't distinguish between farmers and Khalistanis. She, being an actress, comes on a social platform and says something and the people take the brunt. The 'aam aadmi' suffers. I was at the Singur border when this court stayed the farm laws. I did a lot of research, I was going to intervene before this court but the laws were stayed. I made a documentary also- I went to those areas- there was nothing Khalistani about it. It was a general farmer issue. What impact does it have on the public?", pressed Mr. Chanderpal.
Justice Chandrachud noted, "For every wrong, there is a remedy. In any system governed by the rule of law, if there is a legal wrong, there is a remedy. Yes, Article 32 is a very valuable remedy provided by the Constitution. But when an ordinary remedy is available under the criminal law, we would be very circumspect of jumping into exercising 32. The wider the power, the greater the sense of responsibility, the greater the need for calibrated exercise of the wide power which is given to the judiciary under 32".
"When we go to Gurudwaras, when we sit with the normal Sikhs over there, people don't distinguish between who are Khalistanis and who is a Sikh! Multiple complaints are there across the country! ", persisted Mr. Chanderpal.
Justice Chandrachud stated, "I don't think the ordinary Indian does not distinguish (unclear)...there are two ways of dealing with it- first, ignore what some people say. But we are not advising you to do that in this case. The other is that you have remedies under the law, valuable remedies".
"We cannot withdraw this plea. This lady has said that we were crushed like mosquitoes! Withdrawal would be a slap on the face of the community...", continued Mr. Chanderpal.
Justice Chandrachud said, "We do not subscribe to any such (unclear)".
The bench then proceeded to dictate the following order- "Invoking the jurisdiction of this court under article 32 of the Constitution, Mr Charanjit Chandrapal, a member of the bar who appears in person, has sought the following reliefs (...). In so far as the first of the above reliefs is concerned, the petitioner in person states that he has already adopted proceedings for the purpose of availing his remedies in accordance with law by instituting a private complaint. In view of the invocation of the remedy by the petitioner in person, we therefore request this court to treat the petition, in so far as prayer (a) is concerned, as being disposed off without the expression of any opinion by this court at the present stage. As regards prayer (b) for a direction for the clubbing of all FIRs which may have been lodged, the same is not pressed".
Referring to Ranaut statement (put up on Instagram) as regards the Farmer's Laws vis a vis its irrelevant reference as a Khalistani Arm twisting tactic, the plea seeks tansfer of all FIRs pan India registered against her to Khar police station (Mumbai) with a further prayer for filing of Charge sheet in 6 months and trial to be completed in 2 years.

Significantly, the plea also alleges that Ranaut is making abuse use of her Right to Speech and Expression through Social Media.

Averments in the plea

Referring to Ranaut alleged statement terming Sikh Farmers' issue as "Khalistani Arm Twisting Tactic", the plea submits that such kind ofirresponsible statements can spread hatred amongst the Indians resulting in disunity of the Country.

[NOTE: The plea states that Ranaut made the following statement on her Instagram account:

"Khalistani Terrorists may be arm twisting the Government today, but let's not forget one woman, the only woman Prime Minister ne inko apni jooti 7 8 ke neeche crush kiya, no matter how much suffering she caused to the nation, she crushed them like mosquitoes at the cost of her own life, lekin Desh ke tukde nahi hone diye. Even after decades of her death, aaj bhi uske naam se kaapte hain yeh, inko vaise hi Guru Chahiye"]

Agaisnt this backdrop, the plea submits that there was absolutely no necessity or need or even the slightest room for making such an outrageous, provocative and irresponsible statement on social media.

The plea further alleges that ranaut made an outrageous and provocative statement that the 1984 attack/counter attack on the Sikhs, irrespective of whether they formed the separatist or the innocent secular group, was justified and this could be easily inferred that the 1984 genocide on the Sikhs is justified.

In this regard, the plea contends that referring to the Genocide of Sikhs in 1984, ranaut has seemingly justified their killing by saying that it was a justified move and that it was necessary to maintain the unity of the country. By this, the plea avers, she has tried to distinguish Sikhs as anti-Indian and anti-Nationals.

"This statement, in the light of several innocent Sikh men, women and children losing their lives as well as livelihood as well as rapes (as regards women) were justified, thus statement has every element of provocation and breach of peace amongst the citizens of India who follow the Sikh Faith via a vis Fans of Respondent no. 17 as well as any miscreants who would like to create nuisance, violence, mischief and discrimination. Thus statement further is fueled by the use of words such a 'Crushed under the Shoes' & 'Like Misquotes' a statement like this coming from a well-known actress would invite attention by the media and the public and could finally result in a Anti-National Sentiment against the Sikhs," the plea states.

The plea also avers that Ranauat attacked directly on the worship of the Sikh faith by saying that the Sikh must acknowledge Priyadarshni Indira Gandhi as their Guru while allegedly claiming that the Sikhs yet get scared of Indira Gandhi.

"This again is a statement which was not required and is against the Sikhs faith as Sikhs are not suppose to fear anybody except the almighty. Fear and respect have to distinguish," the plea adds.

Lastly addig that the remarks are not only outrageous and blasphemous but also intend to cause riots, hurt religious sentiments, the plea terms her alleged statements as defamatory as well as portraying Sikhs in a totally anti National manner.

"It also justifies innocent killing of Sikhs. The remarks are totally against the unity of our country and the actress deserves a Serious punishment at Law. They cannot be brushed aside or excused," the plea avers.

Case Title: Sardar Charanjeet Singh Chanderpal v. Union Of India

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