Remarks against PM: Supreme Court orders Pawan Khera's release on interim bail till Feb 28
He was arrested over alleged remarks against PM Modi, the action coming soon after he was deplaned from a flight to Raipur where he was going to attend the party's plenary session.
Published: 23rd February 2023 04:19 PM | Last Updated: 23rd February 2023 04:32 PM | A+A A-
The Supreme Court on Thursday directed a Delhi court to grant interim bail to senior Congress leader Pawan Khera, who was arrested by the Assam Police from the Delhi airport, earlier today.
He was arrested over alleged remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the action coming soon after he was deplaned from a flight to Raipur where he was going to attend the party's plenary session.
Khera who apparently fumbled on the prime minister's father's name during a press conference moved the top court to seek relief in multiple FIRs against him in Assam as well as in the Uttar Pradesh towns of Varanasi and Lucknow.
The apex court issued notices to the states of Assam and Uttar Pradesh seeking their responses to Khera's plea.
"He (Khera) has made statements in a press conference. He has made certain statements which I cannot say in the court but I personally would not have made," Khera's party colleague and senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi said in the apex court. Singhvi mentioned the matter for urgent listing before a bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and the court took it up an hour at 3 pm.
Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the Assam Police, played the audio-video clip of the alleged remarks in the open court and said Khera cannot use such "derogatory words" against a democratically elected prime minister of the country. Bhati told the court that Khera has been arrested and will be produced before a competent magistrate during the day for transit remand.
Assam Police said in court that Khera had used "derogatory remarks" against a democratically elected prime minister. His counsel argued that he had apologised for his remarks on the prime minister and the charges against him do not require arrest.
Freedom of Speech is slowly weakening in India, but Freedom AFTER Speech is fast becoming extinct. My colleague @Pawankhera was deplaned from a Raipur-bound flight. After ED raids, another attempt to derail Congress Plenary. Murder of Democratic India is the right acronym for Him pic.twitter.com/11LXuDSOQO— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) February 23, 2023
Khera was on his way to Raipur for the Congress plenary session with several of his party colleagues when he was arrested at the Delhi airport after being deplaned from a flight to Raipur. The Delhi Police said he was detained at the request of the Assam Police.
A case has been registered at Haflong police station in Assam against Khera under various sections of the IPC for his alleged remarks against the prime minister.
Congress leaders accompanying him sat on the tarmac in protest and resisted efforts to take him away without an arrest warrant. "We are all on the @IndiGo6E flight 6E 204 to Raipur and all of a sudden my colleague @Pawankhera has been asked to deplane," Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate, who was also on the flight, said on Twitter. "What sort of high-handedness is this? Is there any rule of law? On what grounds is this being done and under whose order?" she said.
(With PTI inputs)