New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday refused to quash multiple FIRs against journalist Amish Devgan for his alleged defamatory remarks against Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, observing that “persons of influence, keeping in view their reach, impact and authority… owe a duty and have to be more responsible”.
A bench comprising Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justices Sanjiv Khanna said, “…in a polity committed to pluralism, hate speech cannot conceivably contribute in any legitimate way to democracy and, in fact, repudiates the right to equality.”
News18 anchor Devgan made the alleged defamatory remarks against the Sufi saint in his news debate show, ‘Aar Paar’, on 15 June this year.
In its 128-page judgment, the court differentiated between “free speech which includes the right to comment, favour or criticise government policies; and hate speech, (which includes) creating or spreading hatred against a targeted community or group”.
The court, however, granted Devgan interim protection from arrest and also transferred all the FIRs filed against him to Ajmer, where the first FIR was filed. It has also asked the Uttar Pradesh government to examine the threat perception to Devgan and his family members and take necessary steps.
Watch the full judgement here: