A court in Delhi on Monday directed the city police to file an FIR against AAP leader Ashutosh for allegedly making “vulgar” statements against Mahatma Gandhi and former Prime Ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Jawaharlal Nehru in a blog in 2016.
This was after one Yogender moved the court seeking action against the journist-turned-politician, who had allegedly made serious allegations against the former leaders to defend an ex-AAP MLA, whose name had cropped up in a sex scandal.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ekta Gauba observed, “Easy for attention seeker to stand and point finger towards Mahatma, difficult even for patriotic preacher to rise and achieve greatness like Mahatma.”
The magistrate, according to PTI, said that Ashutosh was trying to gain public attention by demeaning the image of Mahatma Gandhi and corrupting the mind of the youngsters.
“Ashutosh Kumar has tried to gain public attention by tarnishing the revered image of Mahatma Gandhiji thereby demeaning his respect in the minds of the people to settle the political scores and made allegations, which tend to corrupt the mind of the readers including the younger generation, which in my view are cognisable offences.
“Thus, I found that in the present case, prima facie there are sufficient grounds for the registration of FIR in the cognisable offences under sections 292 and 293 of the IPC,” Magistrate Gauba was quoted by PTI.
Hence, SHO, Begumpur is directed to register an FIR against respondent Ashutosh Kumar and to investigate the matter under the relevant provisions of law,” the court said.
The complaint lodged by one Yogender has sought an FIR against him under sections 292 (writing or drawing figure shall be deemed to be obscene if it is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest or if its effect tend to deprave and corrupt persons, who are likely to read, see or hear the matter) and 293 (selling, distribution or circulation of obscene object to person under twenty years of age) of the IPC.
In September 2016, while writing for NDTV, Ashutosh had defended his party colleague Sandeep Kumar, whose name had surfaced in a sex scandal. He had written, “Indian history is full of examples of our leaders and heroes who had lived with their desires beyond social boundaries. Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru’s reported affairs with many female colleagues were juicy gossip but it didn’t spoil his political career. His relationship with Edwina Mountbatten is widely discussed. The entire world knew about it. Their affections continued till Pt. Nehru’s last breath. Was it a sin? History is also witness to the fact that top leaders of the Congress in 1910s were worried about Gandhiji’s relationship with Sarla Chaudhary, who was distantly related to Rabindra Nath Tagore. Gandhi Ji had confessed that Sarla was his spiritual wife. Kasturba Gandhi was very disturbed. C Rajagopalchari and other senior leaders of the party had to intervene. They persuaded, pressured, cajoled Gandhi-ji to leave Sarla. Gandhiji in his later days slept naked with his two nieces to experiment with celibacy. Pandit Nehru had told him not to do so as the country would rise against him but Gandhi-ji did not budge.”
The court, while allowing the complaint, said, “Ashutosh Kumar has made specific and heinous imputations against Mahatma Gandhi. Not only are the allegations vulgar and obscene but are to the extent of imputing incest.”
The court further added, “It also falls within the provisions of Article 19(2) of the Constitution which bars the liberty of freedom of speech and expression on the ground of morality and hence, the speech/article given by Ashutosh could under no stretch of imagination be covered under article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution i.e.freedom of speech and expression,” it said.