The Supreme Court on Wednesday extended the interim protection granted to TV anchor Amish Devgan from any coercive action in multiple FIRs lodged over his alleged defamatory statements against Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, Live Law reported. The court further said that investigation into the matter will also remain suspended.
Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for the News18 anchor, informed the bench that status report regarding the investigation as directed on the last date of hearing has been filed.
On June 26, the Supreme Court had stayed any coercive action against Devgan and had issued notices to those who have lodged criminal cases against the journalist, and also the state governments of Rajasthan, Telangana and Maharashtra where the cases have been lodged. Luthra at that time, had argued that “errors cannot be construed as criminal offences”.
The FIRs filed against Devgan accuse him of hurting religious sentiments of the Muslim community, after he allegedly made derogatory comments about the Sufi saint in his show on June 15. It alleged that Devgan had used word “lootera” (robber) for the saint. However, the news anchor on June 17 tweeted saying that he was actually referring to Muslim ruler Alauddin Khilji and ended up naming Chisti.
In a similar case, the Bombay High Court on June 30 had granted interim relief from arrest to Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami and stayed two first information reports filed against him for alleged communal coverage of Palghar lynching case and the gathering of migrant workers outside the Bandra station.
A division bench of Ujjal Bhuyan and Riyaz Chagla had said “prima facie no case was made out” against Goswami. The court said no coercive steps should be taken against him until final hearing and disposal of the petition. They added that the anchor had not intended to cause public disharmony or incite violence through his television show.