The Prime Minister was not a candidate in the four states that have elected new assemblies, three of them having plumped for his party.
The Chhattisgarh High Court has stayed the investigation by State police into the case registered against BJP National Vice President and former Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh and spokesperson Sambit Patra for tweeting out a document claiming it to be a toolkit by the Congress party.
Justice Narendra Kumar Vyas observed that the FIR against Singh was registered out of malafides and political grudge.
“Considering the facts of the case and perusal of FIR, prima face no case is made out against the petitioner and criminal proceedings is manifestly attended against the petitioner with malafides or political grudge,” the Court held.
Hence, continuation of investigation based on the FIR registered against Singh on May 19 would be an abuse of process of law, the Court ruled staying the FIR.
The FIR had been registered based on a complaint filed by one Akash Sharma who is the State President of National Student Union of India.
Singh had tweeted a document alleging that it was a toolkit created by Congress party to tarnish the image of the country and Narendra Modi.
The Congress party had denied such claims and had maintained that the document was forged to tarnish the reputation of the party.
Based on Sharma’s complaint, Chhattisgarh police had registered case against Singh for offences under Sections 504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 505 (public mischief), 469 (forgery) and 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code.
The Court stated that the offence under Sections 504 and 505 are not made out since public peace or tranquility was not affected by the tweet.
“If we see the face value of FIR, no offence under Sections 504 and 505 of IPC is made out as the averments of the FIR reflect that by the Tweet of the petitioner, Congressmen are aggravated which clearly indicates that no public peace or tranquility is being adversely affected,” the Court said.
On the offence of forgery under Section 469, the Court said that from perusal of the FIR, it was apparent that ingredients of forgery and intent to harm reputation are not made out as the attached document was already in public domain much prior to the time petitioner tweeted the message.
Regarding Section 188, the Court noted that there was no compliance with Section 195 of the Code of Criminal Procedure which lays down conditions for prosecution for contempt of lawful authority of public servants.
The Court, therefore, stayed the FIR till the next date of hearing.
Senior Advocate Mahesh Jethmalani along with advocates Ravi Sharma, Vivek Sharma, Gary Mukhopadhyay, Apoorv Kurup and Avdesh Kumar Singh represented the petitioner.
Senior Advocate Dr. AM Singhvi along with Advocate General Satish Chandra Verma and advocate Sumeet Sodhi represented the State government.
The case will be heard after four weeks.
Credit ( Agencies)