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Punjab and Haryana HC dismisses assault FIR against Elvish Yadav, asks him to refrain from depicting or promoting violence and substance abuse online

The FIR was filed against YouTuber Elvish Yadav for allegedly assaulting and threatening social media influencer Sagar Thakur, popularly known by his moniker "Maxtern"

A First Information Report filed against YouTuber Elvish Yadav for allegedly assaulting and threatening social media influencer Sagar Thakur, popularly known by his moniker “Maxtern”, was quashed by the Punjab & Haryana High Court. The FIR has been quashed on the condition that he and “his accomplices” abstain from encouraging violence and drug abuse on social media, reported Live Law. “The FIR portrays that the motive for violence was some dispute regarding popularity and content creation in which allegations were levelled against Elvish Yadav and his accomplices,” remarked Justice Anoop Chitkara.

He added, “To ensure that similar violent acts are not repeated in the future, that impressionable followers do not get influenced by the misdemeanour exhibited by the accused persons. and that the accused are not under the mistaken belief that such instances are taken lightly by the legal system, this Court proposes to quash the FIR in question but with the imposition of a certain condition.”

The court further emphasized that despite the fact that violence in the media might appear cool or amusing and draw a large audience across platforms, it frequently advances a narrative or increases viewership and fosters hero culture by negatively influencing societal perceptions. The court mentioned, “Such actual use of violence in a society cannot be accepted and needs to be condemned. Media influencers with a considerable audience must be sensitized to the message they impart through their actions to their susceptible followers and exhibit socially responsible behaviour.”

Following a compromise with the aggrieved Sagar Thakur, Elvish Yadav and other alleged associates submitted a motion to crush an FIR under Sections 147 (punishment for rioting), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of the offence committed in prosecution of common object), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation). The victim who is a “well-known content creator” had charged that Elvish Yadav and others had severely battered him and threatened to murder him.

Elvish Yadav stated that he and the other accused parties had settled the matter with the complainant while the criminal case was pending. Sagar Thakur testified that there would be no issues if the court dismissed the FIR and the related procedures when he appeared before the Judicial Magistrate (First Class), Gurugram, Haryana. “The accused and the private respondent have amicably settled the matter between them in terms of the compromise deed and the statements recorded before the concerned Court,” the court stated after hearing the submissions.

It further conveyed, “In the given facts, the occurrence does not affect public peace or tranquillity, moral turpitude harms the social and moral fabric of the society or involves matters concerning public policy.” The court also highlighted that “the rejection of compromise may also lead to ill will. The pendency of trial affects career and happiness and there is nothing on the record to prima facie consider the accused as an unscrupulous, incorrigible, or professional offender, and this Court proposes to caution the petitioners as mentioned in the later part of this order.”

It expressed that the goal of criminal jurisprudence is reformatory in character and aims to improve family, community and societal harmony. The judge did point out that section 320 of the Code of Criminal Procedure does not apply in this particular case to the offences under sections 147 and 149 of the Indian Penal Code. However, in the particular facts and circumstances of this case, the prosecution for the non-compoundable violations could be closed by quashing the formal complaint and the related processes, provided that the petitioners comply with the directives.

The decision of the Apex Court in Ramgopal v. The State of Madhya Pradesh, [Cr.A 1489 of 2012], was cited to emphasize, “Nevertheless, the limited jurisdiction to compound an offence within the framework of Section 320 Cr.P.C. is not an embargo against invoking inherent powers by the High Court vested in it under Section 482 Cr.P.C. The High Court, keeping in view the peculiar facts and circumstances of a case and for justifiable reasons can press Section 482 Cr.P.C. in aid to prevent abuse of the process of any Court and/or to secure the ends of justice.”

The Supreme Court brought up Shakuntala Sawhney v. Kaushalya Sawhney, [(1979) 3 SCR 639, at P 642,] and observed that “the finest hour of Justice arises propitiously when parties, who fell apart, bury the hatchet and weave a sense of fellowship or reunion.” The Court cited this case in support of its position. Without commenting on the compromise narrative, the court deemed “it appropriate to quash the FIR captioned above subject to the condition that the petitioners, Elvish Yadav and his accomplices, namely Lovekesh Kataria, Ajay, and Rustam, refrain from depicting or promoting violence and substance abuse in any of their social media posts or content.” The FIR and all following procedures were overturned by the court, subject to the above criteria, stating that “continuing these proceedings will not suffice any fruitful purpose whatsoever.”

Sagar Thakur’s remarks on YouTuber and Bigg Boss OTT 2 winner Elvish Yadav’s meeting with Bigg Boss winner Munawar Faruqui sparked the brawl in March. Elvish Yadav then beat him up as a result and a police report was made against him. Elvish Yadav had conceded that he assaulted the YouTuber in the “heat of the moment” after the latter “threatened” to kill his family. In addition to him, 10 others were booked by the Sector 53 police in Gurgaon. The entire incident was captured on camera. The two then publically settled their differences.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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