Two weeks after actor-turned- BJP politician S Ve Shekher moved the Madras High Court seeking anticipatory bail in connection with a derogatory post about women journalists shared on his Facebook page, the court has dismissed his petition.
Justice S Ramathilagam further directed the police to carry out investigations as they would in the case of a common man. Meanwhile, a group of journalists in Chennai met state police chief to request him to arrest Shekhar at the earliest.
In his strongly worded order Justice S. Ramathilagam said that a statement would gain more importance in a society when an influential person makes it because people respect the person for his/her social status.
He further said, “When a celebrity forwards a message like this, the common people will start to believe it. This would send a wrong message to the society at a time when we are talking about women empowerment. The language and words used in the Facebook post are direct with abusive foul language which is not expected from a person of his calibre and age.”
Shekher had approached the court seeking advance bail in a case booked by the Cyber Crime Cell of the Central Crime Branch in Chennai. He had shared a post on his Facebook page on 19 April which alleged women journalists “sleep around to get top posts”.
The post titled “Madurai University, Governor and virgin woman’s cheeks” came after a female correspondent of an English magazine accused the Tamilnadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit of inappropriate behaviour during a Press meet.
The journalist lodged a complaint against Shekher with the Central Crime Branch on 20 April. Shekher was booked under section 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), section 505 (1) (c) (statements conducing to public mischief: Whoever makes, publishes or circulates any statement, rumour or report with intent to incite, or which is likely to incite, any class or community of persons to commit any offence against any other class or community), section 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) and section 4 of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Women Harassment Act (penalty for harassment of woman) of the Indian Penal Code .
Shekher then approached the court, seeking anticipatory bail. He claimed in his affidavit that he shared the Facebook post inadvertently, without reading it first.
He also said that he had deleted the post immediately after he realised it’s folly. Though the court took the case on 3 May for hearing it reserved order on the anticipatory bail and questioned why the police were biased in taking action.