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‘Not proved that movie dialogues incited violence’, Calcutta HC junks FIR filed by TMC against Mithun Chakraborty over Bengal poll speech

The Calcutta HC stayed any further police investigation in the matter pertaining to the FIR filed by TMC against actor and BJP leader Mithun Chakraborty

The Calcutta High Court Thursday, December 9 quashed the FIR registered against superstar and BJP leader Mithun Chakraborty by a member of the TMC party over his alleged ‘hate speech’ at BJP’s massive rally at the Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata prior to the West Bengal polls.

The court also stayed any further police investigation in the matter.

Justice Kaushik Chandra observed that the “dialogues in question are fundamentally funny, hilarious, and entertaining and cannot be viewed as an expression of hatred.”

“It is futile to try to find the elements of hate speech in them,” the court added while junking the FIR filed against the actor and BJP leader.

“The petitioner did not utter those dialogues to promote the feeling of enmity, hatred, or ill-will between different religious, racial, linguistic or regional groups or castes or communities, and, therefore, the ingredients of offences under Sections 153A, 504, and 505 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 are absent in this case … Even if the effect of such utterance is judged from the standard of weak and vacillating minds, it cannot be said that there is any proximate nexus between the dialogues uttered by the petitioner and the widespread violence that took place in the State after the Assembly Election,” the court said.

The judgement was passed by the Calcutta HC while hearing a criminal revision petition filed by Mithun Chakraborty for quashing the first information report (FIR) against him.

It may be noted that the complaint against the veteran actor and BJP leader was filed on May 6 by one Mrityunjay Pal, a resident of Kolkata at the behest of the Mamata Banerjee government. 

In his FIR dated May 6, 2021, the complainant claimed that after the State’s assembly elections in 2021, large-scale violence was unleashed due to the petitioner’s provocation. The actor was accused of inciting the BJP workers to commit violence and brutality against TMC members by citing two dialogues from his popular Bengali movies at the public rally at the Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata.

It may be recalled here that on March 7, 2021, when superstar Mithun Chakraborty joined the BJP at BJP’s Brigade Parade Ground rally in Kolkata he had delivered one of his most famous dialogues, “Maarbo ekhane, laash porbe shoshane (I will hit you here, your corpse will land at the crematorium).” Another dialogue he delivered was, “Ek Chhobole Chhobi (A single sting is enough to kill).”

Senior Advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, representing Mithun Chakraborty, stated that the petitioner is a well-known actor whose dialogues are well-known in Bengal and have been used by the actor to entertain audiences on numerous occasions.

‘Film stars attract voters by saying cinematic dialogues. This case is no exception’, Court observed

He maintained that the current case was filed with malafide motives because the petitioner switched from the TMC to the BJP. Jethmalani claimed that the petitioner had no intention of inciting someone to commit a crime, and hence the elements of the charges accused of are not proven.

The State’s Public Prosecutor, Saswata Gopal Mukherjee, contended that free speech and hate speech are two different things. Furthermore, if the above-mentioned movie dialogues are combined with some of the other words said, they come under the category of hate speech, the Public Prosecutor submitted.

However, after hearing the arguments presented by both the petitioner and the respondent, the single-bench court quashed the FIR against the veteran actor saying that, “film stars try to entertain and attract voters by saying cinematic dialogues in political rallies. The case in hand is no exception.”

Supreme Court quashes FIRs against OpIndia Editor-in-chief filed by the Mamata Banerjee Govt

The Calcutta High Courts decision to junk the FIR against superstar and BJP leader Mithun Chakraborty was another shocker for Mamata Banerjee who was then trying to soak in the scathing observations made by the SC while quashing all four FIRs filed by the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal against OpIndia Editor-in-Chief Nupur J Sharma, Ajeet Bharti, the then Hindi editor of OpIndia, CEO Rahul Roushan, and Nupur J Sharma’s husband Vaibhav Sharma.

Interestingly, on December 9 itself, Supreme Court had also made the West Bengal government withdraw all 4 FIRs against OpIndia Editor-in-Chief Nupur J Sharma. The Supreme Court not only express concern about the reducing level of tolerance to dissenting views but also said that journalists suffer the consequences of information that is in the public domain.

“In an almost cathartic end to this saga, today, the Supreme Court has ensured that the Bengal government withdraws all 4 FIRs against me with scathing comments against the Bengal government. OpIndia took on the malicious, motivated and drunk-on-power state and emerged victorious. This is a victory for every Dharmic voice who fought for us, stood by us and supported us,” wrote OpIndia Editor-in-chief, as she thanked OpIndia readers, her team, friends, family, Senior Advocate Mahesh Jethmalani and lawyer Ravi Sharma, and, most importantly, the Supreme Court of India for upholding the truth.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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