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Home > fundamentalism / shrinking secular space > India: No coercive action against Taslima Nasreen, Supreme Court tells U.P. (...)

India: No coercive action against Taslima Nasreen, Supreme Court tells U.P. police

Wednesday 18 December 2013, by siawi3

Source: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-newdelhi/no-coercive-action-against-taslima-supreme-court-tells-up-police/article5472152.ece

New Delhi, December 18, 2013
No coercive action against Taslima, Supreme Court tells U.P. police
U.P. cleric had filed a complaint against the author for a twitter comment

Granting relief to Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen, the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Uttar Pradesh police not to take any “coercive action†against her in connection with an FIR lodged by cleric Maulana Tauqeer Raza Khan alleging that her twitter comments insulted “religious†beliefs.

A Bench of Justices B.S. Chauhan and S.A. Bobde, after hearing senior counsel K.K. Venugopal issued notice to the State government seeking its response but made it clear it could not quash the FIR at this stage. In a brief order, the Bench said: “Issue notice. In the meantime, no coercive action should be taken against the petitioner.â€

She wanted to quash the charges filed against her under the Information Technology Act for the controversial tweet criticising a meeting between Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal and the cleric .

The Bench told Mr. Venugopal: “Our difficulty is we cannot quash the FIR and interfere with the investigation at this stage. We understand the threat to your life. You should apply for police protection. Why should we stop the investigation? The investigation cannot be stayed.â€

Mr. Venugopal told the court that the fatwa issued against her in 2007 had not been withdrawn and she carried Rs. 5 lakh on her head. The fresh FIR would compel her to go to Bareilly, he said. But later the Bench issued notice and restrained the U.P. police from taking coercive steps against her.

In her writ petition, Ms. Nasreen said the entire FIR was based on a newspaper report on November 6 about the meeting Mr. Kejriwal had with Maulana Tauqueer Raza Khan. Her protest in twitter was in the specific context of a public announcement and fatwa issued against her in 2007. She said the FIR was an abuse of the process of law. Further, Section 66A of the IT Act was so wide and vague that it was incapable of being judged on objective standards.