What Is The Case Against Mahua Moitra For Alleged 'Derogatory' Remarks Against NCW Chief?

Mahua Moitra has been booked under Section 79 of the newly-enacted Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), which penalises words, gestures, or acts intended to insult the modesty of a woman

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TMC MP Mahua Moitra Photo: Getty Images

Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra has been booked under the new criminal laws, which came into effect earlier this month, for her alleged 'derogatory remarks' against National Commission for Women (NCW) chief Rekha Sharma during her visit to the site of the deadly stampede in Hathras.

Krishnanagar MP Mahua Moitra commented on X (previously Twitter) about a video showing Sharma's arrival in Hathras, where a man was seen carrying an umbrella for her. The comment has caused a stir, leading to Sharma condemning it with an FIR lodged with the Delhi police.

The Commissioner of Police Sanjay Arora on Friday said the National Commission for Women had taken suo moto cognisance of the “derogatory” remarks and that the remarks were in “sheer violation of a woman’s right to live with dignity”.

“The National Commission for Women has taken suo moto cognisance of the derogatory remarks made by Ms. Mahua Moitra, Member of Parliament, about Ms Rekha Sharma, Chairperson, NCW, an apex Statutory Body established by the Government of India, for the protection and promotion of the welfare of women rights,” the complaint read.

How Has Mahua Moitra Responded?

After the NCW took legal action against Mahua Moitra for her remarks about NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma, Moitra challenged the Delhi Police to act immediately on suo moto orders. In a post on X, she stated, "Come on Delhi Police please take action immediately on these suo moto orders. Am in Nadia in case you need me in the next 3 days to make a quick arrest." She added, "I Can Hold My Own Umbrella."

Later, Mahua Moitra shared screenshots of old posts by NCW chief Rekha Sharma, where Sharma made controversial remarks about political figures. Moitra challenged the Delhi Police to also register an FIR against Sharma under the newly implemented Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita. She included posts where Sharma called Lalu Prasad Yadav and Sonia Gandhi "dumb" and questioned Mahatma Gandhi's legacy.

This is not the first time the West Bengal MP Mahua Moitra has found herself embroiled in controversy. Earlier this year, she was expelled from Parliament after the Lok Sabha Ethics Committee recommended her expulsion in the 'cash-for-query' case. She was accused of taking bribes from businessman Darshan Hiranandani to ask specific questions in the Lok Sabha. The allegations were made by BJP MP Nishikant Dubey.

Under what law has Mahua Moitra been booked?

Mahua Moitra has been booked under Section 79 of the newly-enacted Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), which replaced the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on July 1. This section penalises words, gestures, or acts intended to insult the modesty of a woman, with punishments including simple imprisonment for up to three years and a fine. Moitra has since deleted the post in question.

Following the complaint, the police sought information from the social media platform 'X' about the post Mahua Moitra had deleted on July 8.

Other cases filed under the new criminal laws

The three New Criminal Laws- Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023 and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, 2023, came into force on July 1. And, the first case to be registered under the BNS was against a street vendor for allegedly obstructing a public way in central Delhi’s Kamala Market area.

However, Union Home Minister Amit Shah later said that the Delhi case was not the first FIR registered under the new laws. The first case was about a motorcycle theft in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, recorded 10 minutes past midnight.

While in the July 7, BMW hit-and-run case in Mumbai, the accused Mihir Shah has been charged under Sections 105 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 281 (rash and negligent driving endangering human life), 125-B (endangering life and personal safety), 238, 324(4) (committing mischief amounting to cause loss and damage) of the BNS.

On July 8, The Salem city police filed the murder case of AIADMK functionary M Shanmugam under the new Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) law. It was the first case to be registered under the new law in the city.