Avadhnama case: Bombay high court restrains police from booking Urdu newspaper editor – Hindustan Times

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The Bombay high court on Monday stopped the police from filing a charge sheet against Shireen Dalvi, the editor of the now defunct Mumbai edition of Avadhnama, an Urdu daily.
Dalvi is facing a probe after seven FIRs were registered against her in January 2015 for obscenity and offending religious sentiments.
On January 17 last year, Dalvi had reproduced on the front page of her paper, the cover of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo.
A huge furore ensued, and even though Dalvi issued a front page apology the next morning, people from across the state got police complaints registered against her and the paper.
On Monday, Dalvi’s counsel, senior advocate Mihir Desai, told HC that there was “no malice” in Dalvi’s decision to reproduce the controversial cover with a caricature of Prophet Mohammed lamenting about fundamentalists.
Desai argued that Dalvi had instead, wanted to reproduce another cover from Charlie Hebdo — one that quoted the Pope’s remarks on limits to freedom of expression.
Besides, he argued, even with the cover, neither the poster, not Dalvi had “deliberately intended to hurt someone’s religious sentiments.” He said that since then, the paper had shut down, Dalvi and her family had been harassed, and she had lost her income.
The police, meanwhile, submitted that considering that FIRs had been lodged across the state, “further investigation was required.”
A bench of Justice VM Kanade and Justice Nutan Sardessai questioned the police’s decision to charge Dalvi not just under Section 295 A of the IPC for having ‘deliberately offended one’s religious beliefs or sentiments,’ but also under Section 294 for ‘obscenity.’
The bench said that it will deliberate upon the charges on the next hearing and no charge sheet must be filed until further orders.
HC is likely to take up the matter in January next year.
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Ayesha is a Principal Correspondent and is with the legal team. She covers the Bombay High Court.


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