The Supreme Court has refused to interfere with the Karnataka High Court’s Order quashing criminal proceedings registered against a journalist who was accused of hurting religious sentiments.

“We are not inclined to interfere with the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court. The Special Leave Petition is dismissed.”, Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and Justice Dipankar Datta held.

Advocate Kamini Jaiswal appeared for the petitioner whereas Advocate Vaibhav Sabharwal appeared for the Respondent.

In this case, a complaint was registered against anchor Ajit Hanumakkanavar alleging that he had posed certain questions to the Panelists, which amounted to hurting the feelings or sentiments of people. It was alleged that he had used ill temperate language against Prophet Mohammad.

It was alleged that the anchor had committed offences punishable under the provisions of Sections 153A and 505(2) of Indian Penal Code.

Following this, Ajit Hanumakkanavar approached the High Court seeking quashing of the proceedings registered against him.

The High Court had noted that Ajit Hanumakkanavar during the course of conducting the program had posed question to the Panelists who had participated in the said programme for eliciting their views. The Court noted that there has been no mens rea present in either inciting a particular community, caste or religion against another.

The High Court had observed that an omnibus statement expressing two different views to enable the Panelist to answer or express their views, by itself would not amount to blasphemy, as sought to be alleged by the complainant.

The Court held that if the allegations made in the complaint if taken at its face value and accepted in its entirety, would not constitute the alleged offences or make out a case against the accused.

Thus the Court held that proceedings initiated against the petitioner cannot be allowed to be continued and if continued it could be abuse of process of law. Accordingly, the Court had quashed the case.

Cause Title- Shareef Pandeshwar v. State Of Karnataka & Anr.

Click here to read/download the Order