Suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma on Tuesday got relief from the Supreme Court, which ordered that no arrest or coercive action be taken against her in the multiple FIRs registered against her in several states over her controversial comments on Prophet Mohammed.
Further hearing was deferred to August 10, with notices to eight state governments/Union Territory where the FIRs are registered.
Her first petition to club all FIRs for trial in a single court was turned down by the Supreme Court on July 1, but she approached the court again pointing out the threats to her life if she were to move from place to place, because of so many FIRs in different states.
"We never wanted you to go everywhere. Maybe, we could not convey this or you did not....Your impression of going to different High Courts....Now you explain that it is nearly impossible for you and there is threat to life...but you understand that you have to at one place of your choice," a Bench of Justices Surya Kant and Jamshed B Pardiwala said, asking if she would be willing to go to Delhi High Court.
The Bench also issued notice on her plea to expunge the adverse remarks it had made on July 1 that her "loose tongue" set the entire country on fire while refusing to club the FIRs registered against her.
The apex court has asked the states/UTs of Delhi, Maharashtra, Telangana, West Bengal, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Jammu & Kashmir to respond to her plea in order to explore the option of allowing her to approach one particular High Court to challenge all the FIRs.
Seeking revival of her petition withdrawn on July 1, Nupur had sought stay on her arrest in the cases lodged against her in various states/UTs.
“Our main concern is that you (Nupur Sharma) should not be deprived of your right of alternative remedy,” the court said, adding it would try to develop modalities for it.
Asked if she were willing to go to Delhi High Court, her senior counsel Maninder Singh said: "Yes, of course. I have handed over the orders passed by you earlier. It has been held that the first FIR is allowed to go on and others as well as new ones are stayed."
He said there are ever-increasing serious threats to life. "Whatever has happened has happened. I had to withdraw (comments against the Prophet)...now another three-four FIRs have been registered. You (SC) are the protectors of Article 21 on the right to life and personal liberty. It's continuing...How do I travel to every court and seek redressal," he said, citing several judgments of the top court clubbing FIRs arising out of the same cause of action.
When he claimed instances of threat to her life occurred after the July 1 hearing, the Bench asked Singh to file an additional affidavit giving specific details.