Delhi court issues bailable warrant against Shashi Tharoor after Congress leader misses hearing in criminal defamation case

In October last year, Tharoor had claimed that an unnamed RSS leader had compared Modi to 'a scorpion sitting on a Shivling'. He termed it an 'extraordinarily striking metaphor'.

Press Trust of India November 12, 2019 22:36:09 IST
Delhi court issues bailable warrant against Shashi Tharoor after Congress leader misses hearing in criminal defamation case
  • A Delhi court has issued a bailable warrant against Congress leader Shashi Tharoor for not appearing in a criminal defamation complaint

  • The magistrate also imposed a fine of Rs 500 on the complainant, Delhi BJP leader Rajiv Babbar, who was also did not appear before the court

  • The court was hearing a criminal complaint filed against Tharoor by Babbar, who had said his religious sentiments were hurt by the Congress leader's statement

New Delhi: A Delhi court has issued a bailable warrant against Congress leader Shashi Tharoor for not appearing in a criminal defamation complaint against him over his alleged 'scorpion on Shivling' remarks referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Naveen Kumar Kashyap on Monday issued the warrant against the Congress leader for 27 November, noting that neither Tharoor nor his counsel appeared before the court.

Delhi court issues bailable warrant against Shashi Tharoor after Congress leader misses hearing in criminal defamation case

File image of Shashi Tharoor. AFP

The magistrate also imposed a fine of Rs 500 on the complainant, Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Rajiv Babbar, who was also did not appear before the court. However, Babbar was represented by a junior counsel.

“Neither complainant nor his main counsel is present. An exemption application is moved on behalf of the complainant. The same is vague in nature. It is stated in the application that he is in personal difficulty but what is such 'difficulty' is not explained at all in the application," the court said.

"Still, taking a lenient view, instead of dismissing the present complaint for reasons of non-­appearance of complainant, he is burdened with a cost of Rs 500 to be deposited with the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA), Central District, Tis Hazari Court," it added.

The court also referred to the non-appearance of Tharoor and his counsel. It said it was taking a "lenient view" and issuing bailable warrants against the accused with a sum of Rs 5,000 and notice to his surety for 27 November, 2019. "The process should be issued within one week,” it said.

The court was hearing a criminal complaint filed against Tharoor by Babbar, who had said his religious sentiments were hurt by the Congress leader's statement. In October last year, Tharoor had claimed that an unnamed RSS leader had compared Modi to "a scorpion sitting on a Shivling". He termed it an "extraordinarily striking metaphor".

Tharoor was granted bail in the case in June on a personal bond of Rs 20,000 after he appeared before the court and moved an application.

The complainant said, "I am a devotee of Lord Shiva.... However, the accused (Tharoor) completely disregarded the sentiments of crores of Shiva devotees, (and) made the statement which hurt the sentiments of all Lord Shiva devotees, both in India and outside the country."

"The complainant's religious sentiments were hurt and the accused deliberately did this malicious act, intending to outrage the religious feelings of Lord Shiva devotees by insulting their religious belief," the complaint added.

The complaint also described Tharoor's statement as "intolerable abuse" and "absolute vilification" of the faith of millions of people.

The complaint was filed under sections 499 (defamation) and 500 (punishment for defamation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

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