Prophet Row: Relief For News Anchor Navika Kumar, SC Grants Interim Protection From Arrest

The FIR was registered at Nanalpeth police station on the complaint filed by a Muslim cleric who accused Sharma and Kumar of intending to outrage religious feelings.

Navika Kumar

The Supreme Court Monday granted interim protection from arrest to Navika Kumar in connection with FIRs lodged against her over controversial remarks made by former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma on Prophet Mohammad during a TV debate moderated by the news anchor.

A bench of Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli issued notices to the Centre, West Bengal government, and others on Kumar's plea seeking quashing of proceedings initiated against her.

“As an interim measure, no coercive action shall be taken against the petitioner pursuant to the impugned FIRs/complaints or future FIRs/complaints which may be registered with respect to the broadcast of May 26", the bench said.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Kumar, submitted that debate was going on over Gyanvapi mosque and suddenly one of the speakers said something, and then another retorted.

Rohatgi stated that the news anchor did not say anything and several FIRs were lodged against her. She in fact doused the fire by saying "we have to go by the Constitution", Rohatgi added.

Senior advocate Menaka Guruswamy, appearing for the West Bengal government, said the first FIR was registered in Kolkata and the FIR in Delhi is not connected with this.

At this juncture, Rohatgi said, “What is the special interest of the State of West Bengal in this matter? The bench then issued a notice in the matter and sought replies in two weeks.

Sharma's remark on the Prophet during a TV debate had triggered protests across the country and drew sharp reactions from many Gulf countries. The BJP subsequently suspended her from the party.

The top court had in July granted interim protection from arrest till August 10 to Sharma in connection with the FIRs/complaints filed against her in several States over her remarks on the Prophet made during a TV debate show.

It had also protected her from any coercive action in the FIRs/complaints which may be registered or entertained in the future about the May 26 telecast.