The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain bail plea of an individual arrested from Gujarat for posting allegedly objectionable comments in his tweets against Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and his son Aaditya Thackeray, reported Bar and Bench.
Nagpur resident Sameet Thakkar, who has more than 65,000 followers on Twitter, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was first arrested from Rajkot on October 25 for his posts, and has since then been arrested on two more occasions on similar charges, according to The Indian Express. He has since been in police custody.
He had moved the top court seeking consolidation of three FIRs registered against him. He also sought interim bail for the FIRs registered at VP Road Police Station and Sitabuldi Police Station in Nagpur.
In Monday’s hearing a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde asked Thakkar’s counsel to approach the Bombay High Court with the plea. “The High Court can also uphold your fundamental rights. It can also transfer the case and grant you bail,” the Supreme Court said. “Then why are you coming under [Article] 32?”
Appearing for Thakkar, Senior Advocate Mahesh Jethmalani termed the case as “one of the most unfortunate ones”, according to PTI. He said Thakkar has been arrested for bailable offences and that that this would “shock the Lordships”.
To this, Bobde remarked: “We are quite immune from shock. We see it everyday. Nothing shocks us.”
Seeking the consolidation of FIRs, Thakkar’s plea also cited Supreme Court’s recent decision in journalist Arnab Goswami’s case, reported Bar and Bench.
“...Need to ensure that a criminal process does not take the character of a vexatious excercise by the institutions of multifarious complaints founded on the same cause in multiple states,” the plea stated.
On the apex court’s order to move the Bombay High Court, Jethmalani said that Thakkar had done so, but he was arrested on multiple instances under different FIRs lodged in relation to the same matter.
“His neck was tied with rope and he was paraded on roads,” Jethmalani submitted, referring to Thakkar.
The court however maintained that the petitioner should approach the high court. “What makes you think that we are approving all this,” the bench remarked. “We are only telling you repeatedly that you can make these arguments before the High Court. Let us have the view of High Court.”
Appearing for the state of Maharashtra, Advocate Rahul Chitnis said that there was no opposition to the bail application moved on behalf of Thakkar on Monday and that his custodial interrogation was over, according to Bar and Bench.