Scorpion remark: Shashi Tharoor terms defamation ‘frivolous’
BJP Member of Parliament Rajeev Babbar’s defamation suit against Congress MP Shashi Tharoor over his “scorpion” remark evoked sharp reaction from the latter. Tharoor termed it “frivolous” and said it was an attempt to “throttle my freedom of expression”, according to a report in news agency PTI.
“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.
Tharoor’s remarks came hours after Babbar filed a defamation case against him under IPC sections 499 and 500 claiming that his religious sentiments were hurt by the statement.
Tharoor courted the controversy last Sunday while speaking at the Bangalore Literature Festival and claimed that an unnamed RSS leader had once compared Prime Minister Narendra Modi as “a scorpion sitting on a Shivling”.
Babbar had alleged in his complaint that the Congress MP with “mala fide intention made the statement which is not only abuse of the Hindu deity but also defamatory”. The complaint filed by advocate Neeraj, on behalf of his client Babbar, and called the statement “intolerable abuse” and “absolute vilification” of the faith of the people.
“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.
The matter, which was placed before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal on Saturday, listed the matter for consideration on November 16 under Indian Penal code sections 499 and 500 relating to defamation. In case Tharoor is convicted, he may face a maximum jail term of two years for the offence.