Defamatory remark on Balaji's 'Nama': RTI activist held

Tirumala Tirupati temple

The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday pulled up the police inspector of Yeshwantpur police station for delaying the arrest of Narasimhamurthy, an RTI activist accused of making defamatory remarks on Lord Venkateshwara’s ‘Nama’ during a television debate.

The court was hearing a petition filed by B M Suresh seeking directions for Narasimhamurthy’s arrest. The court sought to know as to why the police had not arrested Narsimhamurthy despite a lapse of 45 days after a complaint was filed by the petitioner. The bench orally observed that will the police not act if someone made a comment on other religion. “We are watching what is happening in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Madikeri.”

The court further stated that the police have to arrest Narasimhamurthy before 4.30 pm, failing which it will pass suspension order of police inspector, Yeshwantpur police station. Following this, the police arrested Narasimhamurthy and informed the court before the stipulated time.

The petitioner had contended that on April 27, 2018, Narasimhamurthy made “an unwarranted and sacrilegious remark” that the Nama of Lord Venkateshwara is a sex symbol which hurt the religious sentiments of the petitioner.

Following this, the petitioner filed a complaint in the Yeshwantpur police station and a case was registered against Narasimhamurthy. But he was not arrested by the police.

The petitioner, then, submitted a representation on April 30 to the commissioner of police for the arrest of Narasimhamurthy. However, no action was taken and neither the matter was investigated into even after 45 days. The petitioner had moved the court seeking directions to the police to take up the investigation and arrest the accused.

The court disposed of the petition following the arrest of the accused. Within a few hours following his arrest, Narasimhamurthy obtained bail from the lower court and was released by the Yeshwantpur police.

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