Nandy seeks protection from SC

Noted sociologist Ashis Nandy on Thursday sought protection from the Supreme Court, fearing arrest over his recent remark on the OBCs and the SC/STs in the Jaipur Literature festival that sparked off a row.

A three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir directed his petition to be listed on Friday as a fresh matter. The petition said Nandy got “very scared and frightened” over statements issued by different persons.

Appearing for Nandy, senior advocate Aman Lekhi raised the issue as mentioning (urgent) matter before the bench. “There is a serious apprehension of arrest,” he said. The court, however, said it would hear the plea after it was listed.

On January 26, Nandy said most of the corrupt people come from the OBC, SC and ST categories, inviting strong reactions. Several FIRs, including one at Jaipur, were registered against him under the Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. In his petition, Nandy sought protection from arrest and quashing of the FIRs.

Nandy also urged the court to frame necessary guidelines to ascertain what constituted an offence under the SC/ST Act for preventing misuse of the law to hamper freedom of speech and expression.

The petition said that the Rajasthan government and other states are likely to arrest him at any point of time, in order to suppress freedom of speech and expression and harass the petitioner.

Nandy asserted that he had expressed his views without any intent to commit an offence and his statement was misconstrued.

“In order to highlight that the under-privileged are often subject to harsh scrutiny, limelight and statutory actions than the elite class, the petitioner expressed his point of view, with great degree of humanity, and stated that it will be a very undignified and vulgar statement on his part that the most of the corrupt comes from OBC and Scheduled Castes and now increasing Scheduled Tribes and as long as this is the case the Indian Republic will survive,” the petition, filed through advocate Gaurang Kanth, stated.

The septuagenarian also pointed out that he had immediately apologised for hurting sentiments of a particular community and sought to clarify any misunderstandings, especially in view of the fact that he has been a pioneer in extending unconditional support to the marginalised and downtrodden communities through his works.

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