The Metropolitan Magistrate at Andheri has called for an inquiry report on the derogatory tweets posted by Bollywood actor Payal Rohatgi against student-activist Safoora Zargar, who was in police custody last year in relation to a Delhi Riots case.
Judge Bhagawat T Zirape directed an inquiry into the tweets and called for a report under Section 202 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) in the complaint filed by Mumbai-based lawyer Ali Kaashif Khan Deshmukh.
“Every community has right to profess its religion. No individual has right to make a fun of any custom or rites of other community. Prima facie, above tweets show disregards against the Muslim women and community,” the order said.
In June 2020, Rohatgi had allegedly posted derogatory tweets against Muslim women, particularly Zargar, who was pregnant while she was in custody for her alleged involvement in the Delhi Riots.
In his complaint, Deshmukh reproduced two tweets by Rohatgi on female genital mutilation, birth contraception from the angle of Muslim women, and the Quran.
As per the complaint, the tweets read:
“Ram Ram ji (emoji) Were Medical Shops not providing CONDOMS (emoji) Oops for # Muslim Women there is No concept of condom (emoji) So when they produce kids like a dozen what’s big deal if one is born in jail (emoji) But this Kut!ya will do VICTIM drama (emoji)#PayalRohatgi# SafooraZargarisISISterrorist”
“Ram Ram Ji (emoji) U are a Muslim woman (emoji) Can U even TALK about SEX??? Is it even allowed in Quran? Ask#Zaira Wasim (Emojis) Do U even know what #foreplay is before sex? Oops sorry I forgot a lot of U undergo FGM – Female Genital Mutilation (Emoji) Hope u are ok down there to enjoy (emoji).”
Deshmukh alleged in his complaint that Rohatgi’s tweets spread hatred and disaffection and defamed Muslim women and the entire Muslim community.
The lawyer had approached the Court in December after Amboli Police Station failed to take action on his complaint.
He prayed that an FIR be lodged against Rohatgi for allegedly committing offences under Section 153A (promoting enmity between groups), 153B (assertions prejudicial to national integration), 295A (Deliberate acts to hurt religious feelings), 298 (Deliberate intent to wound religious feelings), 505 (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will) of the Indian Penal Code and provisions of the Information Technology Act.
After perusing the complaint, the Court noted that the complainant had not filed a certificate as required under Section 65-B of the Indian Evidence Act. Hence, technical investigation of the tweets was necessary to proceed against the accused.
Having held so, the Court opined that inquiry as stipulated under Section 202 of the CrPC would be necessary.