Stand up comedian Sunil Pal was booked by Andheri Police on Tuesday for alleged defamation and giving statements conducive to public mischief. The case was registered on the basis of a complaint letter filed by a doctor in connection to the derogatory comments made by the comedian in an entertainment channel against doctors working in COVID management and treatment.
A doctor, who is also the head of an Association of Medical Consultants, said in her complaint that Pal had made several derogatory comments about the frontline health workers, accusing them of being inhuman and form of evil, who allegedly mint money off of the COVID patients amid the pandemic and crisis that follows. Moreover, in the monologue shared by Pal, he also accused doctors of human trafficking under the garb of the COVID crisis.
The complainant said in her statement that in the video that went viral, Pal had said "They say doctors are a form of God, but 90 per cent of the doctors have taken an evil form, being fraud. Poor people are being scared off in the name of COVID all day, they are humiliated and harassed by saying there are no beds, no plasma, no medicine, no this, no that." The statement also read that Pal said, "People are forcefully taken by stating they are COVID positive upon checking and are admitted, billed subsequently resulting in the patient's death. Human body parts are also trafficked."
Soon after this video went viral, Pal released another video clarifying his statement, claiming that he had not targeted all doctors, but was speaking about few. "If my statements hurt the doctors, I apologize and take my words back. Doctors really are a form of God," Pal said in the video.
Taking cognisance of the derogatory monologue against doctors, the video that came to light on April 20, the complainant approached Andheri Police and lodged a complaint against Pal, accusing him of inciting gate speech, making derogatory remarks against the frontline health workers, who have been fighting selflessly in these COVID times. Andheri Police booked Pal under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code for defamation (section 500) and statements conducive to public mischief (section 505 (2)).
When contacted Pal for a comment, he said that he had uploaded an apology in the form of video, however, that never came to the fore. "As a comedian I take the current topics and turn it into a satire and I have the eight to exercise my freedom of speech and expression, which I did. Having said that, if I hurt any feelings, that was not my intention and I apologize. I only referred to 90 percent of the doctors in the video, and if the ones who were hurt consider themselves in the 90 percent at fault, there is nothing I can do," added Pal.