SC restrains UP police from acting against Taslima

SC restrains UP police from acting against Taslima

The Supreme Court Tuesday restrained Uttar Pradesh Police from taking any coercive step against self-exiled Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen following her criticism of AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal meeting cleric Maulana Tauqeer Raza Khan just before Delhi assembly elections.

The apex court bench of Justice B.S. Chauhan and Justice S.A. Bobde also issued notice to UP Police on her plea to quash an FIR against her.

The court restrained UP Police from moving against Taslima Nasreen after senior counsel K.K. Venugopal told the court that a critical tweet on a meeting between Kejriwal and Tauqeer Raza Khan cannot be construed as an offence under Section 66(a) of the IT Act.

The court, while restraining the police from acting against her, directed the Taslima plea challenging the validity of section 66(a) be tagged with an earlier petition pending before the court that has questioned the constitutional validity of the said IT provisions.

Taslima in her plea said she feared that the "draconian" provision will be "misused" against her.

The author, who had got irked by the meeting of Kejriwal with Khan, had posted some comments on her twitter account.

A news report in a vernacular daily, based on her twitter posts, formed basis of the FIR lodged by Khan at Kotwali Police Station at Bareilly under section 295A (maliciously insulting the religious beliefs) of IPC and section 66A of IT Act.

The Bangladeshi author, who has been living in self-exile for over 19 years, has apprehended the misuse of the IT Act provisions against her also.

"In the present case, the petitioner is herself a hapless victim and her case is a glaring example of the kind of abuse and misuse which is to be expected given the vague, wide and wholly unguided language of section 66A. It highlights the serious threats to the constitutional and human rights posed by the provisions such as section 66A of IT Act...", it said, adding her plea be clubbed with other similar petitions.

Seeking quashing of the FIR, the plea said that it has been lodged without any "preliminary inquiry" by the UP Police which relied on a news report, which summarised some of her twitter posts.

Taslima said that earlier, complainant Khan had announced a cash reward of Rs five lakh in 2007 on her head for her pro-women comments and no action was taken despite the fact that the incident was publicised.

"The petitioner is left with no alternative except to approach this court to seek relief against the motivated and malicious FIR against her, as well as against the rather draconian statutory provision which acts as an easy and ready aid for such abuse of the legal process," it said.

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