Second Elgaar Parishad: govt. to take no coercive action against Sharjeel Usmani

Sharjeel Usmani.  

The Bombay High Court on Monday recorded the statement by the Maharashtra government that it would not take any coercive action against Sharjeel Usmani, an alumnus of Aligarh Muslim University, as long as he appeared before the Pune police for allegedly making objectionable statements at the second Elgaar Parishad.

A Division Bench of Justices S.S. Shinde and Manish Pitale was hearing a plea filed by Mr. Usmani through senior advocate Mihir Desai, seeking to quash the FIR against him charging under Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) of the Indian Penal Code.

Mr. Desai told the court that there was no dispute that the speech was made; however, the issue was whether it came under Section 153A. He argued that three things – what was the message sent by the speech, who it was addressed to, and the context in which it was made — needed to be kept in mind to see if it came under that Section.

Referring to a statement made by Mr. Usmani, the Bench said, “We are open to criticism.”

Mr. Desai said that the speech had been sent to a forensic science laboratory.

The HC asked public prosecutor Y.P. Yagnik if Mr. Usmani had joined the investigation and they would require him to be present again. Mr. Desai assured the court that Mr. Usmani would be present on March 18.

The HC adjourned the hearing to March 22.

Mr. Usmani had on January 30 delivered a speech at Ganesh Kala Krida Manch in Pune. An FIR was registered against him at Swargate police station on February 2, based on a complaint filed by advocate Pradeep Gawade, State regional secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha.

The complaint said, “Mr. Usmani has allegedly made offensive statements against the Hindu community, Indian judiciary, and Parliament.”

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 10:07:39 AM |

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