Well-known scholar and sociologist Ashis Nandy on Friday got relief from the Supreme Court after it stayed his arrest for his remarks at the recent Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) perceived to be anti-Dalit.
A Bench comprising Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, Justice Anil R Dave and Justice Vikramajit Sen, issued notices to the Centre and the States of Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Chattisgarh, where FIRs were registered against Nandy for his remarks.
The 76-year-old Nandy moved the apex court seeking quashing of the FIRs registered against him.
Senior advocate Aman Lekhi, appearing for Nandy told the Bench, “The gentleman participated in the literary meet. In the course of the discussion a statement was made on corruption. Can law penalise an idea?” the counsel asked.
To this, the Bench said, “Yes. Why not, when the idea is not in public interest? Then you are supporting the idea? Yes. An idea can be punished. It is not the question of the idea, but the manner in which it is said.”
“Each person has his own idea, but it should not disturb others. Statements have to be made in a responsible manner. Tell your client he has no licence to make such comments,” the Bench said. “Why do you say something which you don’t intend?” the Bench asked. “FIRs have been registered in many places,” Lekhi said. “Why not FIRs when people are being affected,” the Bench said.
Nandy had allegedly said that people belonging to the OBCs, SCs and STs are more corrupt. Over this, a case was registered against him under the SC, ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.