New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the investigation and coercive action against news anchor and Managing Editor of News 18 TV (Hindi) Amish Devgan, in connection with his alleged statement in a TV show, till the next date of hearing.
A vacation bench, headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar, and also comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna, issued notices to the complainants and those states, wherein FIRs have been registered against Devgan, for referring to Sufi Saint Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti as ''lootera'' in his show.
Following the FIRs registered against him in various states, Devgan had tweeted apology and said that he had mistakenly said Chisti in place of Allauddin Khilji.
The Apex Court said that it needs to be seen if the case documents were enough to proceed with the investigation.
''We direct the petitioner to implead all the complainants in the case in three days. As regards interim relief, we are inclined to pass orders that investigation would be stayed in interim and no coercive action against the petitioner till first week of July,'' the apex court observed.
The notice is returnable by July 8 and the matter will be listed after that.
The writ petition, filed by Devgan's lawyer Siddharth Luthra, contended that his client had made an 'inadvertent error' during his show, for which he later issued public apology. Lodging of FIRs against the journalist for a ''slip of tongue'' is unjust and amounts to undue harassment, he submitted.
Mr Luthra said that multiple FIRs have been registered in Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Telangana against Devgan and that it would cause grave prejudice to him if he is asked to appear in different places across the country in connection with the FIRs. His family members are also being threatened and harassed, the senior advocate submitted.
Advocate Rizwan Merchant, appearing for two complainants from Maharashtra, submitted that Devgan used the term "lootera Chishti" more than once during his show.
While hosting a debate on June 15 on PIL's regarding the Place of Worship Special Provision Act on his show 'Aar Par', Amish had called Khwaja Moinuddin Chisthi, better known as Khwaja Ghreeb Nawaz, an "attacker" and "looter".
Following that, several police complaints and FIRs were registered against the anchor across the country. (UNI)