Court orders FIR against Geelani, Susanna (Arundhati Roy)

via Indian Express published on November 27, 2010

NEW DELHI: A Delhi court on Saturday ordered the Delhi Police to lodge an FIR against Hurriyat hardline leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, writer Arundhati Roy and five others, under provisions relating to sedition, for their alleged anti-India speeches at a seminar here last month.

Criticising police for “inaction” to register a criminal case despite there being no “reasonable justification”, Metropolitan Magistrate Navita Kumari Bagha held the police had no option but to lodge an FIR and investigate the case as the accusations disclosed commission of cognizable offences.

The court, on a petition filed by Sushil Pandit, said that the Delhi Police had received the complaint on October 28 but failed to register an FIR. “The police has utterly failed to register FIR for no reasonable justification, even though the complaint of Pandit clearly discloses commission of cognizable offences,” the magistrate said.

A last-ditch effort by the police to get Pandit’s complaint dismissed on the grounds that “no concrete evidence of the malafide intention of SAS Geelani and Arundhati Roy is available” was also rebuffed by the court. Puncturing holes in the “weird” report submitted by the police, the court said it was “surprising” that they chose not to register an FIR even though they admitted various facts regarding the alleged anti-nation speeches. “Though the police has admitted in their report that the totality of the speech made by Geelani was regarding the independence of the people of J&K, yet surprisingly it has also been stated that no FIR could be registered because of the absence of mens rea (mental deliberation) and evidence of malafide intention on the part of SAS Geelani and Arundhati Roy,” the magistrate said in her order. She directing the police to probe into the matter and submit their report in the court on January 6. Other accused include S A R Geelani, acquitted in the Parliament attack case, Sheikh Showkat Hussain, Shuddharbrata Sengupta and Sujato Bhadra.

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