Delhi court takes cognisance of Shashi Tharoor’s ‘scorpion’ remark
The criminal defamation case against Congress MP Shashi Tharoor for his ‘scorpion’ remark was taken cognisance of by a Delhi court on Friday. Tharoor made the comment on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Samar Vishal, the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, gave December 22 as the date to record statement of complainant Rajeev Babbar, a Delhi BJP leader. Babbar accused Tharoor of “mala fide intention, made the statement which is not only abuse of the Hindu deity but also defamatory”.
Babbar identified as a worker/supporter of Narendra Modi and BJP, in his complaint, and said that Tharoor’s remarks hurt his religious sentiment. Babbar termed the statement as “intolerable abuse” and “absolute vilification” of the faith of the people.
Tharoor courted controversy while delivering his speech at the Bangalore Literature Festival last month and said that an unnamed RSS leader compared the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “a scorpion sitting on a Shivling”.
The complaint has been lodged under Indian Penal Code sections 499 and 500 pertaining to defamation. In case of a conviction, the Thiruvananthapuram Member of Parliament could get a maximum sentence of two years in jail.
However, soon after the defamation was filed, Tharoor had termed it “frivolous” and said it was an attempt to “throttle my freedom of expression”, according to a report in news agency PTI earlier this month. “The charges are frivolous … If we start to stifle the right of the people to quote published material then where would our democracy head ?…Where is the freedom of expression ?” Tharoor was quoted as saying by the news agency.
It may be recalled that Babbar’s complaint had alleged that the speech of the accused had lowered down the credit and image of him. “The speech of the accused had lowered down the credit and image of the complainant. The complainant was hurt and anguished as the intentional, defamatory and mischievous statement of the accused has lowered the reputation of the complainant in the eyes of others present there,” the complaint read.