Booked over Elgaar speech, Sharjeel Usmani moves HC, seeks quashing of FIR

Claiming that the criticism filed in opposition to him in Pune on the behest of a BJP Yuva Morcha chief was a ‘political gimmick’ aimed toward low cost publicity, former Aligarh Muslim University scholar chief Sharjeel Usmani, who was booked for making a provocative speech at Elgaar Parishad on January 30, has moved the Bombay High Court searching for quashing of the FIR in opposition to him.

Pradeep Gawade, a lawyer who can be the regional secretary of the BJP’s youth wing, had submitted a criticism utility on the Swargate police station. Based on his criticism and a preliminary probe, Pune Police, on February 2, booked Usmani underneath IPC Section 153A (selling enmity between completely different teams on grounds of faith, race, place of origin, residence, language, and many others, and doing acts prejudicial to upkeep of concord).

It was alleged within the FIR that Usmani made offensive statements in opposition to ‘Hindu community’, ‘Indian judiciary’ and the Parliament.

The Elgaar Parishad was organised within the metropolis to mark the Bhima Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerna Abhiyaan on January 30, which can be the delivery anniversary of Rohith Vemula, a Dalit analysis scholar on the University of Hyderabad whose suicide led to an uproar in 2016.

Apart from Usmani, different key audio system on the convention included creator Arundhati Roy, former IAS officer Kannan Gopinathan, journalist Prashant Kanojia, Dalit activist Satyabhama Suryawanshi from Latur, retired High Court decide BG Kolse Patil and retired IPS officer SM Mushrif, amongst others.

Usmani (24) had been arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Police final 12 months for his alleged position within the clashes that broke out following protests in opposition to the amended citizenship regulation on the AMU campus on December 15, 2019. He is presently out on bail.

Usmani, in his petition filed by means of advocate Aditi Saxena, acknowledged that the FIR is ‘frivolous and baseless’ and has been registered on the premise of a choose few statements taken out of context.

The petition acknowledged, “The petitioner in his speech has identified a problem in the social construct of this day, and has concluded with a solution to the problem”. It mentioned the gist of his speech was to “fight hatred with constant dialogue with people who do not share the same ideological views”.

“The FIR does not disclose intention to cause disorder or incite people to violence to attract offence under section 153A of IPC. FIRs of this nature are a protracted modus operandi of misrepresenting what is said, beginning with social media and culminating by initiating the criminal justice system,” the petition additional learn.

It mentioned, “This modus operandi is targeted at those who, within the construct of constitutional protection, seek to identify the ills that plague our nation and offer course correction. This is largely designed to vitiate communal harmony in society and in effect curb free speech by initiating the juggernaut of the criminal justice system to redefine the contours of acceptable free speech.”

“The FIR needs to be quashed as it is ‘utterly baseless’ and is to violate (the) petitioner’s right guaranteed under section 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution related to freedom of expression and speech,” the plea acknowledged.

Usmani mentioned the FIR relies on remoted statements from the complete speech and doesn’t disclose any intention to advertise enmity, and subsequently, no offence is made out. “Even if taken true, the same would not make out any cognizable offence against the petitioner”, his plea acknowledged.

“The speech is mostly based on the facts which are available in the public domain of academic literature and prima facie does not have any intention to cause any disorder or incite the people to violence. However, it demands combat against hate in the society and not against any particular community. The FIR is filed by the complainant for political gain and is no more than a political gimmick,” it added.

Usmani demanded that the FIR filed at Swargate Police station in Pune be quashed and any investigation arising out of it’s stayed, pending a listening to. He additionally sought safety from coercive motion.

While Usmani’s petition was listed earlier than a division bench of Justice SS Shinde and Justice Manish Pitale on Friday, it couldn’t be taken up as a consequence of paucity of time and can be heard in the end.

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