The Supreme Court on Monday refused to quash the multiple cases registered against television news anchor Amish Devgan over his allegedly defamatory statements against Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, Live Law reported.
The court, however, extended the interim protection from any coercive action, which was granted to the News18 anchor on July 8, provided he continues to cooperate with the investigation.
A bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Sanjiv Khanna also clubbed the first information reports lodged against Devgan in different states and transferred them to Ajmer in Rajasthan. As many as seven FIRs have been filed in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Telangana against the anchor.
Devgan has been accused of hurting religious sentiments of the Muslim community, after he allegedly made derogatory comments about the Sufi saint in his show on June 15. The FIRs alleged that Devgan had used word “lootera [robber]” for the saint.
Devgan maintains it was an inadvertent error. In a tweet posted on June 17, the news anchor claimed that he was actually referring to Muslim ruler Alauddin Khilji, but mistakenly ended up naming Chisti instead. “I sincerely apologise for this grave error and the anguish it may have caused to followers of the Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti, whom I revere,” he had said. “I have in the past sought blessings at his dargah. I regret this error.”
The FIRs against the anchor invoke sections 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.