NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday extended protection from coercive action to Congress leader Pawan Khera till March 3 in connection with a case with cases lodged against him for making alleged insulting remarks on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s father. The top court also granted time to Assam and Uttar Pradesh governments to file replies to Khera’s plea and said that “interim bail granted to him will continue.”
Remarks against PM: SC extends protection from coercive action to Congress leader Pawan Khera till March 3
— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) February 27, 2023
The Supreme Court had on Thursday issued a notice to Assam and the UP Police over the Congress leader’s plea seeking clubbing of FIRs and granted him interim protection from arrest. The Supreme Court further directed the Dwaraka Court to release the petitioner on interim bail till the next date of hearing.
The top court passed the order while hearing a plea challenging Congress leader Pawan Khera’s arrest in connection with his alleged insulting statements on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s father. Khera had earlier moved the Supreme Court seeking relief in multiple FIRs lodged against him in Assam, and Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow and Varanasi. Senior advocate A M Singhvi, who appeared for Khera in the matter which was listed before a bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud, sought interim relief for the Congress leader and consolidation of FIRs since several are being registered across the country. Singhvi told the Supreme Court that Khera had apologised and said that it was a mistake, a slip of tongue.
Khera was arrested on Thursday morning at the Delhi airport after being deplaned from a flight to Raipur in connection with his alleged remarks against Modi at the request of Assam Police.
During the hearing, Singhvi told the bench that multiple FIRs have been lodged against Khera over his alleged remarks against the prime minister. “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,” Singhvi said.
He said due to the statements, multiple FIRs have been lodged against Khera in different states and, currently, Assam Police are at the airport to take him into custody. Khera, against whom a case has been registered in Assam, was asked by the Delhi Police to deplane. Congress leaders accompanying him sat on the tarmac in protest and resisted efforts to take him away without an arrest warrant.
Senior Delhi Police officials later handed over a document from Assam Police seeking their help in arresting Khera. Congress leader Randeep Surjewala accompanied Khera to a police station at the airport where there was a huge deployment of CISF. Pawan Khera was arrested under various sections of 120B/153A/153B/500/504/505/502, which includes criminal conspiracy and inciting communal disharmony.
Pawan Khera recently referred to the Prime Minister as “Narendra Gautamdas Modi” while criticising the Central government over the row involving the business conglomerate headed by Gautam Adani. The ruling party has accused him of making fun of the prime minister and his late father.
PM’s Modi’s full name is Narendra Damodardas Modi, with the middle name Damodardas standing for his father’s name, a common practice in many parts of the country.