CHANDIGARH: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has upheld a single-bench order dismissing a petition seeking criminal proceedings against singer Sonu Nigam for his recent tweets on the use of loudspeakers in mosques.
A division bench headed by Justice Mahesh Grover passed the order yesterday, dismissing the petition against Nigam filed by Sonipat resident Aas Mohammad.
While upholding the May 1 single-bench order of Justice M M S Bedi, the court said the petitioner was doing this for "himself and not for his community".
Justice Bedi had earlier said a "fair interpretation of words" used by Nigam indicated that the word "goondagardi" (hooliganism) in the tweet was not written in the context of 'azaan' (call for prayers), but on the use of loudspeakers and amplifiers.
He had said that though ‘azaan’ was an essential part of Islam, the use of microphones was not integral to religious practice.
Justice Bedi had called Mohammad's petition a "cheap attempt to get publicity".
Seeking directions to launch prosecution proceedings against Nigam, Mohammad had argued that the singer's tweets had violated the Muslim community's fundamental right to manage religious affairs as enshrined in the Constitution and also hurt religious sentiments.
The single-bench had observed that even if the complaint was seen in the context of Section 295-A (hurting religious sentiment) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the words used in the tweet were prima-facie not meant to insult any religion or religious belief of any class of citizens and were not deliberate or malicious.
On April 17, Nigam had tweeted: "I'm not a Muslim, and I have to be woken up by the azaan in the morning.
When will this forced religiousness end in India?" The tweet by the singer had stirred up a hornet's nest on social media and a fatwa was also issued against him.