C'garh HC quashes FIRs against BJP leaders Sambit Patra, Bagga

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Bilaspur, Apr 12 (PTI) The Chhattisgarh High Court on Monday quashed FIRs lodged in May last year against BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra and one more party leader for allegedly promoting enmity between different groups and hurting religious feelings.

Two FIRs were lodged against Patra in Raipur and Durg, while one case was registered in Kanker against Tejinder Pal Singh Bagga, a BJP leader from Delhi, Patra's lawyer Sharad Mishra said.

All three cases were registered under sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc), 500 (punishment for defamation), 505(2) (statements conducing to public mischief) of IPC based on the complaints of Youth Congress leaders here, he said.

The single bench of Justice Sanjay K Agrawal quashed the three FIRs and observed that police officers cannot investigate non-cognisable offences under sections 500 and 501 of the IPC without leave of the court, Mishra said.

The complainants had alleged that Patra, in a tweet in May, levelled false allegations against former prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Rajiv Gandhi in connection with the Kashmir issue, 1984 anti-Sikh riots and Bofors scam.

Bagga had retweeted Patra's tweet, he said.

Lawyers of Patra and Bagga had then filed petitions in the HC seeking quashing of the FIRs.

In June last year, the HC, in its interim order, had said that till the next date of hearing, no coercive steps shall be taken against the petitioners, Mishra said.

After the final hearing on the petitions last month, the HC had reserved its order, which was delivered on Monday, he added. PTI COR TKP BNM BNM