The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday put a stay on the arrest of former Aam Aadmi Party leader and poet Kumar Vishwas in a case related to his remarks on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, reported Live Law.
On April 12, the Punjab Police had filed the complaint against Vishwas for alleging that Kejriwal was willing to take the support of separatists during the 2017 state polls. The police had also booked former Aam Aadmi Party leader Alka Lamba for supporting Vishwas’ comments.
According to Vishwas, Kejriwal had said that he would either become the chief minister of Punjab or the “first prime minister of an independent nation”, in an apparent reference to Khalistan. The Khalistan movement is a separatist campaign aimed at creating a country for Sikhs by seceding from Punjab.
In a petition filed in the High Court, Vishwas had argued that the first information report had been filed out of malafide intention and that the case was an abuse of the process of law. The poet had contended that the FIR was filed with a motive to settle political scores. Vishwas pointed out that he had made the alleged statements in Mumbai but the case had been registered in Punjab, where the Aam Aadmi Party is in power.
The police had booked Vishwas and Lamba under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 153 (provocation with intent to cause riot), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief).
The FIR was registered on the basis of a complaint filed by an Aam Aadmi Party leader who had alleged that he and other supporters of the party were called “Khalistani” by some masked men during an election campaign.
Such incidents have been happening regularly since Vishwas’ “inflammatory statements against AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal on news channels/ social media platforms alleging AAP links with separatist elements,” the FIR stated.
The complainant had alleged that the statements made by Vishwas were likely to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere of Punjab.