SC allows clubbing of FIRs against Times Now anchor Navika Kumar

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The Supreme Court on Friday ordered that all first information reports filed against Times Now anchor Navika Kumar, in a case related to suspended Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s remark about Prophet Muhammad, will be transferred to Delhi, Live Law reported.

Sharma made the comments on May 26 during a Times Now debate, which was moderated by Kumar. A day later, the news channel distanced itself from Sharma’s comments.

FIRs were registered against Kumar in Maharashtra, West Bengal, Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir for outraging religious feelings.

The anchor had approached the Supreme Court in August demanding that either the FIRs against her should be quashed, or they be clubbed together and transferred to one state.

On Friday, a bench of Justices MR Shah and Krishna Murari said that the court’s direction will also be applicable to any FIRs filed against the anchor in the future, Bar and Bench reported.

The bench also said that no coercive action will be taken against Kumar for eight weeks.

“The petitioner is at liberty to move the [Delhi] High Court for quashing of the lead FIR,” the bench said.

Nupur Sharma’s remark

Sharma’s remarks against Prophet Muhammad had led to a spate of violence and unrest across several parts of the country in June. There was also a diplomatic outrage from a number of Gulf countries. Two men – one in Maharashtra and another in Rajasthan – have been killed for supporting her.

On July 19, Sharma was granted interim protection from arrest by the Supreme Court in the cases filed against her.

Notably, on July 1, a bench headed by Justice Surya Kant at the Supreme Court said that Sharma should have apologised to the country for her remarks.

The judges had also orally said that Sharma was single-handedly responsible for the tensions in the country and that being a spokesperson of a national political party does not give anyone the liberty to speak “such disturbing things”.

“These are not religious people at all, they make statements to provoke,” the judges said while asking Sharma to approach the High Courts.

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