The Supreme Court issued a notice today in which it stayed an order passed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court which had fined Music composer and Aam Aadmi Party supporter Vishal Dadlani and Robert Vadra’s relative Tehseen Poonawalla with Rs 10 lakh for allegedly hurting religious sentiments of the Jain community by their tweets on Jain monk Tarun Sagar.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court had on May 1, 2019, quashed the FIR filed against them by the Haryana Police, admitting that there was no criminal offence made out, but had imposed costs of Rs 10 lakh on both Vishal Dadlani and Tehseen Poonawalla for their offensive Tweet.
The duo was booked by the Haryana Police in August 2016 and a case was registered “for deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings and other offences” under Sections 295-A, 153-A and 509 of the IPC (Indian Penal Code) at Ambala Cantonment police station.
In August 2016, Dadlani had tweeted his displeasure at the ‘colossal idiocy’ of ‘some naked monk’ addressing the Haryana assembly. His tweets did not go down well with the Jain community and to damage control, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal and Delhi Health Minister Satyender Jain had to tweet apologies on behalf of Dadlani. Meanwhile, Congress supporter and Robert Vadra’s relative Tehseen Poonawalla had also made offensive remarks on the Jain monk.
Tarun Sagar is a Jain monk of the Digambar community and these monks do not wear clothes. He had addressed the Haryana Assembly when the duo made these offensive remarks.
Following public outcry by a number of netizens, Dadlani eventually apologized for his tweets. To this end, he issued a public statement of apology and also met the Jain monk personally to seek his forgiveness. However, Poonwalla, on his part, submitted that he did not regret making the tweets. He contended that by doing so, he had not committed any criminal offence.