The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed petitions filed by the Chhattisgarh government challenging a state High Court order that put a stay on inquiry into a case filed against former Chief Minister Raman Singh and Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Sambit Patra, Live Law reported.
The case against the two leaders had been filed for tweeting a document, claiming it to be a “toolkit” or campaign material by the Congress. They had claimed that Congress had prepared the document to “tarnish” India’s image in foreign media.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana refused to interfere in the order passed by the Chhattisgarh High Court in June. In his order, Justice Narendra Kumar Vyas had stated that the first information report against Singh and Patra were registered out of “malafides and political grudge”.
The Supreme Court also asked the High Court to decide on the matter expeditiously.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the Chhattisgarh government, pointed out the observations made by the High Court and said that there was need for a “genuine hearing”
“What will the High Court decide at this stage...Look at the observations,” Singhvi urged the Supreme Court. “Even if I go to High Court I should have a genuine hearing.”
The advocate also said that the High Court had ruled that there was “no prima facie” case against Raman and Singh.
“It [the order] says the petitioner is a political person...So if he is a political person you give these findings straight away?” Singhvi asked. “Now what is left for me to go back for?”
The police lodged the case on May 19 on a complaint filed by Akash Sharma, the Chattisgarh president of the the National Student Union of India, the Congress’ youth wing.
During Wednesday’s hearing, the Supreme Court told Singhvi it will not interfere in the case. “Don’t waste your energies,” the bench added. “Let the High Court decide.”
The ‘toolkit’ case
The case was registered against Raman and Singh for allegedly forging the letterhead of Congress’ Research Department and printing “false and fabricated” content. Several other BJP leaders had also tweeted the document claiming that it was meant to tarnish the image of the country and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Congress, however, had told the police that the “toolkit” was fake.
Following the complaint, the BJP leaders were booked under sections 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 505 (public mischief), 469 (forgery) and 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code.