Tamil Nadu

Petitions to register FIRs against Rajini withdrawn

‘Approach judicial magistrates if police refuse to file cases’

The Madras High Court on Friday permitted two office-bearers of the Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam (DVK), from Chennai and Coimbatore, to withdraw the petitions they had filed seeking registration of First Information Reports (FIRs) against actor Rajinikanth over a speech he had made regarding a 1971 incident involving Dravidar Kazhagam founder E.V. Ramasamy alias Periyar.

Justice P. Rajamanickam allowed the petitioners’ counsel to take back their cases and granted them liberty to approach the court after exhausting other legal remedies.

The decision was taken after the judge concurred with State Public Prosecutor (SPP) A. Natarajan that the complainants had rushed to the court without following elaborate procedures established under law.

The SPP pointed out that a Division Bench of Justices M.M. Sundresh and N. Sathish Kumar had on September 20, 2018 categorically held that every other complainant could not approach the High Court and seek a direction to invoke its inherent powers under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for ordering registration of an FIR.

The Bench had pointed out that a complainant, aggrieved over the refusal on the part of an officer in charge of a police station to register a FIR, should first approach the jurisdictional Superintendent or Commissioner of Police. If the complainant does not get remedy, the jurisdictional judicial magistrate should be approached under Section 156(3) of the Cr.P.C.

Exceptional cases

The Division Bench had made it clear that complainants could bypass the procedure contemplated under Section 156(3) and directly approach the High Court under Section 482 only in exceptional and rarest of rare cases.

Even in such rare cases, the complainants could approach the High Court only after waiting for 15 days from the date when they had lodged the complaint with the Inspector of Police concerned.

Despite such authoritative pronouncement by the Division Bench, the present petitioners, R. Umapathy and M. Nehrudoss, of the DVK, had rushed to the High Court within 15 days and the Registry too had entertained their petitions erroneously, the SPP said.

In so far as the merits of the case were concerned, Mr. Natarajan said there could be no speck of doubt that Periyar was not just a tall leader but also an icon of reforms. “However, Mr. Rajinikanth appeared to have made his speech not on his own but based on an article published in a magazine,” he added.

Taking exception to such a submission, the counsel for the petitioners stated that the actor should not be allowed to go scot-free despite having incited violence due to his objectionable remarks against Periyar.

Intervening at this point, the judge said: “Everyone has great respect for the leader. There can be no second opinion about it but now the issue is that you have to follow the procedures laid down by law. In case, the police refuse to register FIR, you have an alternative remedy under Section 156(3). We cannot bypass that procedure.”

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 9:55:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/petitions-to-register-firs-against-rajini-withdrawn/article30647658.ece

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