SC Says No Coercive Action Against Anchor Amish Devgan for Remarks on Sufi Saint

Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for the journalist said the journalist has already issued a clarification for his tweet.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday stayed any coercive action against TV news anchor Amish Devgan in multiple FIRs lodged in several states over his alleged defamatory statements against Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti.

A bench comprising Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari issued notices to those who have lodged criminal cases against the journalist, and also the state governments of Rajasthan, Telangana and Maharashtra where the cases have been lodged.

Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for Devgan, sought the relief and said that the journalist has already issued a clarification for his tweet.

Errors cannot be construed as criminal offences, Luthra said.

It was alleged that the journalist in his news show on June 15 had used the term Lootera Chisti’ for the Sufi saint, inviting reactions from the Muslim community.

One of the FIRs was lodged at Pydhonie police station in Mumbai against Devgan for allegedly hurting religious sentiments by referring to saint Chisti in derogatory terms in the TV programme on the complaint of Arif Razvi, general secretary of Raza Academy.

However, later the news anchor tweeted saying that he was actually referring to Muslim ruler Alauddin Khilji and ended up naming Chisti.

The top court, which has fixed the plea for hearing in the first week of July, has ordered that till then no coercive action would be taken against Devgan.

The FIRs and complaints have also been lodged in Rajasthan and Telangana also alleging that Devgan had used word ‘lootera’ for the saint.