SC breather to Dhoni, stays criminal proceedings

File photo of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.  

In a relief to cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Supreme Court on Monday stayed criminal proceedings against him on a complaint that he deliberately attempted to outrage religious sentiments with a visual depiction of him as 'Lord Vishnu' in a business publication.

At the end of a brief hearing, a Bench of Justices P.C. Ghose and R.K. Agarwal also stayed a Karnataka High Court order refusing to quash the criminal proceedings against him in a Bengaluru court.

Clubbing Dhoni's petition with another on the same issue, the bench issued notice to social activist Jayakumar Hiremath, who had lodged the complaint.

After the disputed picture was published in April 2013, several complaints were lodged in various parts of the country against Dhoni, accusing him insulting Hindu religious sentiments. However, most of these complaints were dismissed.

But a Bengaluru court took cognisance of one of these complaints and started proceedings against him under Section 295 A of the Indian Penal Code, which if found guilty attracts imprisonment extending up to three years or fine or both.

The Karnataka High Court refused to provide any relief to the cricketer by quashing the criminal proceedings pending in the trial court. Following which, Dhoni was constrained to moved the Supreme Court in a special leave petition challenging the High Court's order declining to hear him under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code for quashing of the criminal proceedings.

In his petition before the apex court, Dhoni has contended that the trial court judge should not have taken cognisance of the complaint under Section 295 A IPC without the previous sanction of the government under Section 196 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Section 196 of the Code deals with 'prosecution for offences against the State and for criminal conspiracy to commit such offence'. Under this section, no court shall cognisance except with the previous sanction of the Central or State government or the District Magistrate concerned.

The petition termed the criminal complaint a frivolous one, lodged to harass him. He said that neither did he pose for the photograph published nor was his permission sought before his face was used in the publication. He asked how he can be accused of an offence which he had neither intention nor knowledge about. He had sought a stay of the trial proceedings and the High Court order till the matter is finally decided by the apex court.

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2021 3:40:44 PM |

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