2 Jul 2008, 0348 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra,TNN
New Delhi: Giving political scientist Ashish Nandy blanket protection from arrest for his writings, the Supreme Court on Tuesday, criticized the Gujarat government and state police.
"What has he written? Why should he be prosecuted for what he has written? We do not find it objectionable. He is 71 years old. Let him live in peace," the vacation bench comprising Justices Altamas Kabir and G S Singhvi said while ordering all authorities in Gujarat not to arrest the reputed political scientist in connection with the case.
The court also stayed the summons issued to Nandy by Satellite police station, Ahmedabad, asking him to appear before it on July 8. No more summons to him, the court said.
When Gujarat government's counsel Hemantika Wahi tried to point out the objectionable portions of the article to the court and even gave an assurance that Nandy would not be arrested if he joined the investigation, the court said: "What is the investigation to be carried out in this case?"
When Wahi persisted that no order was required to be passed as the police would not arrest him, the court commented on the growing intolerance in the political class towards criticism.
Nandy had moved the apex court seeking anticipatory bail apprehending arrest by the Ahmedabad police, which had registered an FIR against him on May 30 under Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language) and 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration).
The FIR was registered on a complaint from one V K Saxena, president of an NGO, alleging that the article has created rift between groups within society that could have grave repercussions for the state.
The court also questioned the motive behind Saxena's complaint to the police. "What is the grievance of V K Saxena? Is he a staunch nationalist?" it asked.