On Tuesday, the Supreme Court has stayed the arrest of former international diplomat and MP Shashi Tharoor, journalists Rajdeep Sardesai, Vinod K Jose, Mrinal Pande, Zafar Agha, Anant Nath and Paresh Nath over multiple FIRs registered against them, over their tweets about a farmer’s death during the January 26 tractor rally.
The bench comprising of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, Justices A S Bopanna, and V Ramasubramanian issued notice and sought responses from the Centre and others on the petitions filed by Tharoor, Sardesai, and journalists Mrinal Pande, Zafar Agha, Paresh Nath, Vinod K Jose, and Anant Nath.
During the hearing, Senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, appearing for Tharoor said that in the meantime, no coercive action be taken against the petitioners, however, the top court said “Nothing is going to happen. Where is the danger?”
“We will hear you after two weeks and stay the arrest in the meanwhile,” the bench added.
According to the sources, one FIR was filed in Noida and four FIRs in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal, Hosangabad, Multai, and Betul against the seven of them, alleging sedition, criminal intimidation, promoting enmity, the provocation to break the public peace, criminal conspiracy, outraging religious feelings, among others.
The FIR in Noida was filed on a complaint by a resident of the city near Delhi, alleging that ‘digital broadcasts’ and ‘social media posts’ by Tharoor and the journalists who claimed that a farmer had been shot dead by the Delhi Police, contributed to the siege of the Red Fort and violence during the tractor rally.
Further, the FIR register in Delhi on the basis of a complaint by city resident Chiranjiv Kumar, said that Tharoor and others misled people on the death of a protester in central Delhi’s ITO when thousands of farmers entered areas in the national capital, including the Red Fort, that were not in the agreed route of the tractor rally.
The FIRs also stated that the accused, through their ‘fake, misleading and wrong’ tweets, tried to imply that the death of the farmer was caused by the violence committed by Delhi Police under directions of the Central government.