The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the proceedings in a criminal case registered against political analyst Ashish Nandy for an article published in a national newspaper on the 2002 Gujarat communal riots.
A Bench comprising Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice Cyric Joseph stayed the proceedings on an appeal filed by Mr. Nandy against a Delhi High Court order dated September 1, 2010, declining to quash the case registered against him under IPC Sections 153A (promoting communal disharmony) and 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration). The Bench issued notice to the Gujarat government seeking its response on the appeal.
The High Court, while dismissing his plea, had asked Mr. Nandy to defend his case in a lower court in Ahmedabad, where the case had been registered. The Supreme Court, in July 2010, while criticising the Gujarat government for its action, restrained the State from arresting 71-year-old Mr. Nandy.
Appearing for Mr. Nandy, counsel Dayan Krishnan argued that his article had only articulated the reasons behind the polarisation between two communities in the State. He contended that no prima facie case was made out under Sections 153A and 153B.
The complaint against Mr. Nandy was filed by V.K. Saxena, president of Ahmedabad-based NGO National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL). The complaint alleged that Mr. Nandy's article was highly intemperate, vituperative, showed Gujaratis in a low light, and promoted communal disharmony between Hindus and Muslims.