Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor was exonerated in the National Anthem case here by the Ernakulam Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Court here on Saturday. A petition by Joy Kaitharath had accused Mr. Tharoor of disrespecting the National Anthem at a function held in Kochi in December 2008. Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate M. Manoj allowed Mr. Tharoor’s petition seeking to discharge the petition filed by Mr. Kaitharath.
Mr. Kaitharath’s petition said Mr. Tharoor had disrespected the National Anthem at the function.
He had interrupted the singing of the Anthem and asked the audience to respect it by placing their hands on their chest as the Americans do.
“It is evident that the accused did not have culpable intention or mens rea to cause disturbance to the singing of the National Anthem. In fact, his intention was to appeal to the audience to express their patriotism,” the court observed in its judgment.
Witnesses in the case said Mr. Tharoor had asked the audience to express their patriotism, especially after the incident happened soon after the terror attack in Mumbai in November 2008.
The court held that culpable intention was a vital ingredient of Section 3 of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, which prescribes punishment for “whoever intentionally prevents the singing of the Indian National Anthem or causes disturbance to any assembly engaged in such singing.”