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‘Supreme Court showed prejudice in favour of Md Zubair and against Nupur Sharma’: Retired Justice SN Dhingra says judges have no knowledge of criminal law

The former Delhi high court judge said that if the judges knew criminal law, they would have known that the blasphemy case against Nupur Sharma does not hold as she was quoting Islamic texts

Justice SN Dhingra, former judge of the Delhi High Court, again criticised the Supreme Court of India for its judgments in the Nupur Sharma and Mohammed Zubair cases. While the apex court made a U-turn and ordered to merge all FIRs against Nupur Sharma and transfer them to Delhi, justice Dhingra questioned the court for not taking back its earlier comments blaming the former BJP spokesperson for violence by Islamists.

In an interview with Times Now, justice SN Dhingra said that the Supreme Court bench showed prejudice against Nupur Sharma, and it was prejudiced in favour of Zubair, however, the reason of this bias is not known. It is notable a bench of Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice Surya Kant and Justice A.S. Bopanna had ordered to merge all FIRs against the Alt News cofounder and transfer them to Delhi while granting him interim protection on July 20. On the other hand, a bench of justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala had refused to club various FIRs filed against Nupur Sharma for her comments on prophet Mohammad, despite the fact that she faces grave threats to her life after several bounties have been announced on her hand.

While all FIR against Nupur Sharma filed in various states is for the same ‘offence’, her comments in a TV debate on Times Now, the FIRs against Zubair are for completely different allegations, including insulting Hindu seers, provocation of riots, hurting sentiments of Hindus etc. But still, the apex court had ordered the merger of all FIRs against Zubair while refusing the same request of Nupur Sharma.

Justice SN Dhingra called the Supreme Court prejudiced for such variation in judgement. He also said that the Supreme Court bench on the Nupur Sharma case should have explained its decision to reject the plea to merge FIRs, and also explain what compelled it to change its position when it ordered the merger of the FIRs after a second petition was filed by Nupur Sharma.

On July 1, while rejecting Nupur Sharm’s plea, the Supreme Court made several scathing remarks against her, making her responsible for murders and riots by Islamists. The bench had said that her approaching the court for the merger of FIRs shows her arrogance, and had asked her to apologise to the nation on TV for her comments. However, when Nupur Sharma filed another petition with the same request, the same Supreme Court bench accepted her request on August 10.

The bench cited the apex court’s 20th July order to merge FIRs against Zubair, implying that after they accepted Zubair’s plea, they can’t reject the same plea of Nupur Sharma. However, justice SN Dhingra asked why the bench didn’t give any reason for the change of its position on the petition. He said that as the bench didn’t give any reason, people are making their own assumptions about the reason for the change of the decision.

SN Dhingra also said that it appears that the judges on the Nupur Sharma bench are not well aware of the criminal laws, based on its stand on the Nupur Sharma case. He said that there are established precedents of merging FIRs for the same offence, but still, the judges chose to ignore that and reject the first plea of Nupur Sharma.

Giving another example of how it appears the judges are not aware of criminal laws, SN Dhingra said that they should have known that the cases against Nupur Sharma do not have any basis.

He said that if the judges have any knowledge of sections 153 and 295 which have been slapped against Nupur Sharma, they would have known that the charges do not hold. According to these sections, Nupur Sharma had not done any crime and she should not have even be charged. He said that her comments can’t be termed blasphemy as her comments have not been denied by anybody. What she said are mentioned in Islamic Scriptures, and Islamic Scholars have said the same on TV, and therefore there should not be any case against her for her citing Islamic scriptures.

Justice SN Dhingra also said that the change of stand by the Supreme Court on Nupur Sharma’s plea makes it look like the judges are influenced by public opinion and media, which is not a good sign.

However, he expressed hope that the court’s prejudiced oral comments against Nupur Sharma will not hamper when her case when it is heard in the trial court and high court, as those were only oral comments which have no legal value. The Supreme Court’s July 1 order rejecting the petition of Nupur Sharma didn’t include any of the remarks made by the bench against her, therefore it is expected that the lower courts will only go by the written order, Justice SN Dhingra said.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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