The Punjab and Haryana High Court has stayed the arrest of former AAP leader and poet Kumar Vishwas in the FIR registered in Punjab for his remark that Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal had told him that he would become the Prime Minister of an independent country, in the context of Punjab elections.

Justice Anoop Chitkara held that "...the submission that the FIR is politically motivated cannot be ruled out", while staying further proceedings and arrest against Kumar Vishwas.

Senior Advocates Randeep Rai and Chetan Mittal appeared for Vishwas while Senior Advocate Puneet Bali appeared for the state and Senior Advocate Vinod Ghai appeared for the complainant, one Narinder Singh.

The complainant had alleged that on April 12 he was stopped by 10-12 highly agitated persons raising slogans "Khalistani Gaddar", "Kejriwal and Mann ki Sarkar haihai", "Khalistani Sarkar haihai" and "Panjab Khalistan Nahi Banega".

By a supplementary statement, the Complainant Narinder Singh added that when he confronted those persons, they said that in February 2022, they had heard interviews of Kumar Vishwas and Alka Lamba on news channels in which Kumar Vishwas had revealed his communication with Arvind Kejriwal in which he told that Kejriwal told him that he would become Chief Minister of a State; and about separatism, that after making Panjab an independent country, he would become its Prime Minister.

The persons then allegedly showed them newspaper reports with news about what Kumar Vishwas said. They allegedly threw the newspaper cuttings, which were also handed over by the Complainant to the DySP.

The Complainant alleged that due to the statement of Vishwas, differences cropped up in different sections of the society and affected the peace and tranquillity in Punjab. The Complainant and the State alleged that many such incidents had taken place due to the statement of Vishwas.

An FIR was registered against Vishwas at the Sadar Rupnagar police station for offences under Sections 153, 153A, 505, 505(2), 116, 143, 147, 323, 341, 120B IPC and Section 125 of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951 and 1988.

Kumar Vishwas explained the context in which his alleged conversation with Kejriwal took place. He said in his Petition, "The crux of all the conversation which has taken place during 2017 Punjab assembly elections when allegedly the petitioner had objected Sh. Arvind Kejriwal from taking any support from the Punjab based fringe and separatists elements to win Punjab elections on the basis of the said support", said his petition.

The Court noted that the complainant, via his supplementary statement introduced new aspects which were missing in his original complaint.

"A perusal of the complaint does not prima facie point out any nexus between the interviews of mid-February, 2022 and the incident of April 12. Any detailed discussions might prejudice the outcome of the final verdict; as such, this court refrains and restrains from expressing any more at this stage", the Court held.

The Court held that prima facie, the allegations against Vishwas have not been made out. The Court held, "The penal provisions under which the petitioner stands arraigned are not prima facia made out against him. Given above, the submission that the FIR is politically motivated cannot be ruled out. Even if all the allegations made in the complaint and the prompt investigation, which has covered almost all aspects, are hypothetically believed as gospel truth, still prima facia the evidence collected does not disclose the commission of any cognizable offence qua the petitioner".

The Court held that the filing of the complaint by naming the Vishwas as the principal accused "does not appear to have been done to seek action against the legal injury".

While staying arrest and further proceedings against Vishwas, the Court held that " is a fit case for this court to prevent the abuse of the process of law because the allegations made in the complaint and the investigation carried out by associating the spot witnesses do not contain any material which even remotely links the incident of April 12 with the interviews of the petitioner".

The matter will be finally heard on July, 4.

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