SC stays arrest of Shashi Tharoor, Rajdeep Sardesai over ‘misleading’ tweets

Shashi Tharoor and journalist Rajdeep Sardesai had last week approached the Supreme Court over the multiple FIRs filed against them over their “misleading” tweets on violence during farmers’ tractor rally in Delhi on January 26.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the arrest of senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, journalist Rajdeep Sardesai and others in cases lodged over their alleged “misleading” tweets on Jan 26 tractor rally violence, PTI reported.

Tharoor and Sardesai had last week approached the Supreme Court. FIRs have been filed in five states against Tharoor and six journalists.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde issued notices and sought responses from the Centre and others on the petitions filed by Tharoor, Sardesai and journalists Mrinal Pande, Zafar Agha, Paresh Nath, Vinod K Jose and Anant Nath.

When the bench said it was issuing notice in the matter, senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, appearing for Tharoor, said that no coercive action be taken against the petitioners in the meantime.

“Nothing is going to happen. Where is the danger,” said the bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.

“We will hear you after two weeks and stay the arrest in the meanwhile,” the bench said.

Cases have been registered at Gurgaon, Bengaluru and Noida on Thursday. Four similar cases in different districts of Madhya Pradesh earlier. In New Delhi, the case has been transferred to the Crime Branch.

The cases name Tharoor and journalists Rajdeep Sardesai, Mrinal Pande, Zafar Agha, Paresh Nath, Anant Nath, and Vinod K Jose. Most of them invoke IPC sections of sedition, criminal intimidation, promoting enmity, the provocation to break public peace, criminal conspiracy, outraging religious feelings, among others.

The FIR in Delhi was lodged on a complaint of advocate Chiranjiv Kumar, a Central government lawyer at Delhi High Court.

The complainant stated that the accused spread fake news about protester Navreet Singh’s death in Delhi on January 26 by blaming Delhi Police to “instigate violence”. Navreet Singh died of head injuries when his tractor toppled after hitting a police barricade. The post mortem ruled out any bullet injuries.

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