Pakistan is more tolerant than city police: Bombay HC

Even in Pakistan no one would have investigated like this. I believe Pakistan is more tolerant than you [police] in such sensitive issues. – Justice Vidyasagar Kanade

Mumbai: Pulling up police officials for booking a footwear dealer under the charges of intentionally insulting the Islam religion, Bombay High Court on Thursday observed that Pakistan is more tolerant than police in sensitive matters.

The observation came from a division bench presided over by Justice Vidyasagar Kanade and Justice Nutan Sardesai while hearing a petition moved by Dejul Shah, a Thane-based footwear dealer.

Shah was booked by Naupada Police station on basis of a complaint made by Samajwadi Party member Amjad Ibrahim Shaikh in March 2014. He had alleged that the sole of the footwear sold by Shah, contained several alphabets from A to P. The complainant contended that the letter M on the sole resembled the word ‘Allah’.

Advocate Ashok Pandey, the counsel appearing for Shah, informed the bench the police had detained his client for over 10 hours and also confiscated all his material. He also told the bench Shah had to face a loss of total Rs 1.5 lakhs due to this complaint, along with too much of mental harassment.

On the other hand, the advocate representing the police told the bench that they made all efforts for a fair investigation. She also told the bench that the police had also booked the original manufacturer of the footwear, who was a Muslim.

Irked by the submissions, the bench said, “In cases where you (police) must take prompt action you don’t do anything. But you show your wit in such cases. There has been no application of mind on your part. You have to justify how can a Muslim person (the manufacturer) insult his own religion? We are shocked by such complaints.”

Slamming the police, Justice Kanade said, “Even in Pakistan no one would have investigated like this. I believe Pakistan is more tolerant than you in such sensitive issues.”

The bench also observed, “Police officials should not investigate just to appease a section of the society or politician.”

Accordingly, the bench quashed the FIR registered against Shah.

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