HC rejects pre-arrest bail plea of actor-BJP leader Shekher

HC rejects pre-arrest bail plea of actor-BJP leader Shekher

Journalists protest against BJP politician S Ve Shekher for his derogatory remarks against media and women writers. PTI file photo

The Madras High Court today dismissed the anticipatory bail plea of actor-politician S Ve Shekher in a case of sharing a social media post derogatory to women journalists, and sharply rebuked him saying that when a celebrity like him forwards such messages, it sends a wrong message to the society.

There cannot be harsher words than these which portray all working women coming up in life as "sacrificing their chastity" and the future of such women is at stake, Justice S Ramathilagam observed while directing the police to proceed in the case in the same manner as they would investigate a matter involving a common man.

"When a celebrity forwards messages like this, the common public will start believing that this type of things is going on. This sends a wrong message to the society at a time when we are talking about women empowerment," the judge observed.

"Forwarded message is equal to accepting the message and endorsing the message. What is said is important, but who has said it is more important in a society because people respect persons for their social status," the judge said.

After seeing such posts from a person who is popular and has a lot of connections with the media for long, public will look at every working woman with a suspicious eye, she observed.

A case was registered last month by the cyber cell of the police under various sections of IPC, following which Shekher, a BJP member, filed the anticipatory bail petition.

"The language and the words used are not indirect but direct abusive, obscene, foul language which is not expected from a person of this calibre and age who claims to be literate with a lot of credentials, with a lot of followers," Justice Ramathilagam said.

Instead of being a role model to his followers, he set a wrong precedent, the judge added.

The judge, while stating that law is same for everyone and people should not lose faith in the judiciary, added that "mistakes and crimes are not same. Only children can make mistakes which can be pardoned. If the same is done by elderly people it becomes an offence."

"No one has any right to abuse women and if it is done, it is a violation of rights. If sharing a bed is the only way to come up in life then does it include all women who are holding high posts now?," Justice Ramathilagam said.

Observing that in public life every act is watched by the public, the judge said: "control of emotions, showing emotions in a controlled form is a leadership quality."

Words from people who are in public life should bring peace and harmony and should not incite hatred and disharmony," she added.

The forwarded message had shaken the society in which women hold equal citizenship with all rights without gender disparity, the judge said.

"After hearing from intervening petitioners and the petitioner it is natural to feel that when the offended public including women were arrested during a protest why the person who is the root cause for such a protest is not dealt with according to law," she noted.

In his petition, Shekher submitted that he was not the author of the Facebook post and did not know its contents when he forwarded it after receiving from Thirumalai Sa.

"I am no way connected to the said message, which was simply forwarded by me without reading the contents of the message only on the bona fide impression and over-confidence," he said.