Speech Taken ‘Out of Context’: Usmani Moves Bombay HC to Quash FIR

Usmani’s plea highlights that the FIR does not indicate any intention to incite violence.

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Former student leader and activist Sharjeel Usmani approached the Bombay High Court on Friday, 5 March seeking to quash an FIR against him registered by the Pune Police for a speech he made in January’s Elgar Parishad event.

The FIR registered under section 153A of the Indian Penal Code on 2 February 2021 alleges that Usmani promoted religious enmity among groups.

It followed after a complaint by Pradeep Gawade, the secretary of Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha, who claimed that Usmani made offensive remarks against the ''Hindu community'', ''Indian judiciary'' and ''Parliament'', Live Law reported.

In a petition filed through advocate Aditi Saxena earlier this week, Usmani stated that the FIR was “frivolous and baseless”, adding that it was registered on the basis of certain select statements taken “out of context,” Live Law reported.

Usmani is seeking the quashing of the FIR and a direction to the police to not take any coercive action against him pending hearing of his petition.

Usmani’s plea also notes that there was was no disharmony or violence at the conclave before or after his speech, Live Law reported.

"The petitioner in his speech has only identified a problem in the social construct of this day and has concluded with a solution to that problem," the plea added.

Further, the plea states that the speech aimed to fight hatred in the society with dialogue, without any ill-will against any religion, caste or community.

It also highlights that the FIR does not indicate any intention to incite violence and thus does not come under sections of 153A of the IPC.

Usmani's petition will be heard next week, before a division bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale, PTI reported.

(With inputs from PTI and Live Law)

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Topics:  Bombay High Court   Law   AMU 

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