interim order staying the investigation by the state police against former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh and Bharatiya Janta Party spokesperson Sambit Patra for tweeting out a document claiming it to be a Indian National Congress party toolkit.HE Supreme Court Wednesday dismissed an appeal filed by the Chhattisgarh Government against the Chhattisgarh High Court’s
A bench led by Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana said it was not inclined to interfere with the high court’s order, and that it would ask the latter to decide the matter expeditiously.
In June this year, the Chhattisgarh High Court, on the petitions filed by Singh and Patra, had stayed the FIR against them, observing that prima facie no case was made out against the duo and that the initiation of criminal proceedings were manifestly mala fide or with a political grudge.
The FIR was registered against Singh and Patra on a complaint filed by one Akash Sharma, State President of the National Student Union of India (NSUI), Chhattisgarh on May 18, 2021. NSUI is the student wing of the Congress party.
The duo contended the tweet caused no harm to anybody, and a further investigation into the offence was, prima facie, illegal.
“It is a political battle between the petitioner and the state ruling party i.e. Congress. The tweet does not breach public peace. No community has been affected by the tweet of the petitioner as Bharatiya Janta Party and Congress are not the community … This is a political clash between two rival political parties. This falls within the ambit of freedom of speech and does not affect peace and tranquility, therefore, no offence is made out against the petitioner,” the petitioners argued.
The high court found that the FIR had been lodged by the police on May 19 on the basis of a complaint received on May 18 without examining the truthfulness of the complaint.
“If we see the face value of the F.I.R. no offence under Section 504, 505(1)(b) and 505(1)(c) of IPC is made out as the averments of the F.I.R reflect that by the tweet of the petitioner, Congress men are aggravated which clearly indicates that no public peace or tranquility is being adversely affected and it is purely political rivalry between two political parties. This, prima facie, establishes that present F.I.R has been registered with political motives”, the high court said.
On the offence of forgery under Section 469 of the Indian Penal Code, the Chhattisgarh High Court had said that it was apparent that the ingredients of forgery and intent to harm reputation were not made out as the contested document was already in the public domain much prior to the time the petitioner tweeted the message.
Regarding Section 188 of the IPC, the high court had noted that there was no compliance with Section 195 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which lays down conditions for the prosecution of public servants for contempt of lawful authority.
The High Court had directed the stay of the investigation and listed the matter after four weeks.