Ashis Nandy seeks protection from Supreme Court

Nandy had moved the apex court to quash all the FIRs registered against him.

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today agreed to hear author and sociologist Ashis Nandy's plea seeking protection from being arrested for allegedly making anti-dalit remarks.

Earlier in the day, Nandy had moved the apex court to quash all the FIRs registered against him.

"We are moving the Supreme Court for quashing of the FIR as well as laying down the guidelines in terms of something which constitutes an offence against SC/ST Act and something which is said in 'freedom of speech'," said Nandy's lawyer Gaurav Kanth.

Kanth informed that there are four FIRs registered against Nandy.

"To our knowledge, I think there are four of them which have been registered. We don't have the copy of the FIRs, but we know one each is in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Nasik and Raipur and there is something in Patna too," he added.

The lawyer said that his main plea in the apex court is that there was no intent when Nandy had spoken these statements.

In a speech at the Jaipur Literature Fest last Saturday, Nandy had said: "It will be an undignified and vulgar statement but the fact is that most of the corrupt come from the OBC, the Scheduled castes and now increasingly STs. As long as it was the case, the Indian republic would survive."

"My main plea is because there is no intent when he had spoken these statements and as far as the SC/ST Act is concerned, there is no question of any harm or anything which has been caused to any particular member of SC/ST caste or community. So, we are moving in terms of the fact that nothing really constitutes any criminal or penal action," he added.

To a query on why the police had not yet questioned Nandy in connection with this case, Kanth said that Nandy was all ready for cooperation in this regard.

Jaipur police had on Tuesday served a written summons to Nandy. Police said a first information report was lodged against Nandy under the section 3(1) of the SC/ST Act, which is non-bailable and invites a 10-year jail term. The case was filed by a person identified as Ram Ratan Meena.

Asserting that he has worked for Dalits, OBCs and adivasis for 45 years of his life, Nandy had on Tuesday said that he was ready to go to jail if tried under the Atrocities Act and convicted.

"It is a non-bailable warrant, I am told, under this act. And, if at the age of 75, I am tried under the Atrocities Act and convicted, I will go to jail. I will not contest it. I will go to jail because I have worked for Dalits, OBCs and Adivasis for 45 years of my life, and I am not going to take this insult quietly, in the sense that I will oppose it and try to subvert it. I will go to jail," he said, when asked about his future course of action if issued summons by Rajasthan Police.

Nandy, however, said he had not received the summons as yet.

"I have only heard that an FIR has been lodged against me. When I get that FIR, when I get that summons I shall respond to that, I shall go there," he added.

An FIR was lodged against him under Section 506 IPC (Criminal Intimidation) and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.