The Supreme Court on Friday granted lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan interim protection from arrest in a case filed against him over his alleged objectionable comments on the re-telecast of Ramayana and Mahabharata amid the nationwide lockdown to control Covid-19, Live Law reported.
A first information report had been filed against the lawyer in Gujarat over his tweet from last month. Bhushan had hit out at Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, who tweeted a picture of himself watching the Ramayana.
“As crores starve and walk hundreds of miles home due to the lockdown, our heartless ministers celebrate consuming and feeding the opium of Ramayana & Mahabharata to the people!” he had said.
The FIR was filed by a former army officer in Rajkot, who accused Bhushan of hurting the religious sentiments of the Hindus with his tweet.
A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna issued notice to the Gujarat Police and listed Bhushan’s plea for hearing after two weeks. “No coercive action can be taken [against Bhushan] till the next date of hearing,” the bench said. At the hearing, the court observed that no individual can direct anyone to watch or not watch something on TV, according to Bar and Bench.
On Thursday, Bhushan had moved the top court seeking cancellation of the FIR filed against him. In his petition, Bhushan said that his tweet was a valid criticism of the government, and that it cannot be termed as an offence.
Last month, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Ministry had announced re-runs of mythology series Ramayana and Mahabharata, reportedly after repeated requests from people forced to stay home because of the nationwide lockdown.