A sessions court in Mumbai rejected a plea filed by lyricist Javed Akhtar challenging the summons issued by a Magistrate against him in a criminal case over his recent remarks comparing the Rashritya Swayasevak Sangh (RSS) with the Taliban.
Giving out an order, sessions judge Priti Kumar Ghole ruled that the summon issued by the Metropolitan Magistrate at Mulund stands is legally sound.
In October 2021, Mumbai-based advocate Santosh Dubey filed a complaint against Akhtar before the metropolitan magistrate court in suburban Mulund under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 499 (defamation) and 500 (punishment for defamation). The magistrate, after hearing arguments of both sides, had issued a summons to the veteran lyricist in December last year.
The 78-year-old Bollywood personality, through his lawyer, filed a petition before the sessions court against the summons.
"The session court has rejected the revision application filed by renowned writer Javed Akhtar against the Mulund court's order," Mr Dubey said.
Akhtar has to appear before the Mulund court on March 31, he added.
What was Akhtar's controversial remark?
On September 3, 2022, during a TV interview, commenting on RSS, he compared BJP's ideological mentor with the Taliban. During the course of it, he said that the Taliban are barbaric, and their actions are reprehensible, but those supporting the RSS, VHP, and Bajrang Dal are all the same, sparking a major backlash from a lot of Hindu organizations.
Akhtar had made controversial remarks in the backdrop of the Taliban seizing power in Afghanistan in August 2021.
Statement of the lawyer
The complainant, who claims to be an RSS supporter, had alleged Mr Akhtar, with a view to gain political score, unnecessarily dragged the name of the RSS and defamed the organisation in a "calculated and well-planned move" while making the remarks during a television interview.
The statements made by the accused during the interview were aimed at defaming the Nagpur-headquartered Hindutva organisation as well as to discourage and misguide people who have joined the RSS or would like to join the outfit, the complaint had alleged.
(with PTI inputs)