The Supreme Court on 22 September dismissed the Chhattisgarh government’s plea challenging a high court stay on a probe against former Chief Minister Raman Singh and BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra. The FIR against the two leaders was registered over their tweets referring to a purported “toolkit” allegedly created by Indian National Congress (INC).
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana refused to interfere with the order of the Chhattisgarh High Court and asked it to decide the matter expeditiously.
The FIR against Singh and Patra was registered a day after Akash Sharma, the Chhattisgarh president of INC’s student outfit NSUI, filed a complaint over their tweets on the purported “toolkit” created by the INC — allegedly to “defame” the country — on 18 May.
The BJP leaders were accused of spreading unrest and provoking people through a fake story.
Hearing a plea by the BJP leaders, the high court stayed the probe on 11 June, stating that the offences alleged are not made out “as the averments of the FIR…clearly indicate that no public peace or tranquillity is being adversely affected and it is (a) purely political rivalry between the two parties”.
The high court had said:
This, prima facie, establishes that the present FIR has been registered with political motives.
Challenging this, the state government told the Supreme Court that the high court had erroneously granted the interim relief right at the stage of admission itself — despite the top court laying down in many cases that extraordinary powers of the HC under Article 226 of the constitution must be used only sparingly and in rarest of rare cases.
The investigation was at a nascent stage, contended the state government, adding that the offence of forgery was made out against the accused.
The BJP had alleged that the INC had made the “toolkit” to instruct supporters on how to go about campaigning against the Narendra Modi government on sensitive political issues. The INC has rejected this and called it a forged document.