Hearing on comedian Palak’s petition adjourned for March 10

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Hearing a petition filed omedian Kiku Sharda seeking quashing of FIRs against him, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has adjourned the hearing for March 10.Punjab and Haryana High Court2

Popular for his role as Palak- Kiku Sharda had approached High Court seeking quashing of the two FIRs lodged against him. Kiku Sharda was booked and arrested first by Kaithal police and later by Fatehabad police in cases registered on complaint of two followers of Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. The complainants had alleged that by imitating the saint in Zee TV show ‘Jashan e Umeed’, he had hurt their religious sentiments.

In his petition, Kiku had claimed that the FIRs against him were liable to be quashed as “Dera Sacha Sauda” was neither a “religion” nor was accorded recognition as a religious sect, the State of Haryana and other respondents today took sought time to file a reply in the matter.

Sharda through senior advocate R.S. Cheema and Arshdeep Singh Cheema had contended that Dera Sacha Sauda was neither a religious organization “by any definition” nor as per its own claims on its official website. Referring to Section 295A of IPC, the Cheemas asserted it hovered around deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.

“An offence under the Section can be committed only if the same is against a religion or religious feelings of any class. Mere usage of the word religion or religious feelings in the FIR would not bring the case within the above sections.

They added multiple FIRs were lodged with regard to the same program through Dera believers in an “orchestrated manner” with a view to “harass, humiliate and terrorise the petitioner and his co-accused in general and the media in particular”.

Stating that it was apparently an attack on the fundamental rights of the petitioner and others, the counsel of Kiku stated that the allegations contained in the two FIRs registered at Kaithal and Fatehabad were totally false and fabricated. Rather, the petitioner was falsely implicated for a completely harmless and bona fide work done in good faith without any mens rea.

The Cheemas added the offending program projected Gurmeet Ram Rahim in a humorous manner. Apparently the offending program was a work of art and was a dramatic presentation displayed on the electronic media. The contents of the program did not attract penal provisions.

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