The Supreme Court today refused to censor controversial actor Kangana Ranaut's social media posts, saying police complaints have already been registered regarding her for posts where she called protesting Sikh farmers "Khalistani terrorists". A Supreme Court lawyer had sought directions from the court to censor all future social media posts by the actor as one of them "justified the innocent killing of Sikhs".
The petitioner himself has also filed a complaint and is free to seek other available legal remedies, Justice DY Chandrachud said.
The plea referred to an Instagram post of Kangana Ranaut which inferred that "Sikh farmers were Khalistani terrorists, upholds the genocide of 1984, means that Sikhs should be treated as a lower race like unwanted mosquitoes and they need a Guru like Mrs Indira Gandhi when the eternal Guru of the Sikhs is Guru Granth Sahib jee."
Petitioner Chanderjit Singh Chanderpal told the court that he was at the farmers' protests and "there was nothing Khalistani about it". He said that the protest was about "a general issue of farmers" but Ms Ranaut repeatedly keeps making such comments.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Bela M Trivedi were hearing the plea.
"These kinds of statements develop a sense of racial discrimination, hate based on different faiths and could lead to a lot of heated arguments on social media and have to potency of even riots, provocation and have all ingredients of the offences that these statements commit, having an effect on the daily like of the petitioner/ his thinking/ his faith/ his confidence in the system and such things just cannot be ignored," the plea said.
The court advised the petitioner not to read out Ms Ranaut's statements. "The more you publicise her statements the more you serve her cause. You are doing a disservice to your own cause," Justice Chandrachud said.
The petitioner alleged that Ms Ranaut's tweets labelling Sikh farmers as "Khalistanis" are making the community suffer, and that "because of such posts, people do not distinguish". Justice Chandrachud said the court did not believe that the ordinary Indian cannot make the distinction.
The plea also sought the court's directions to transfer all pending FIRs registered against Kangana Ranaut across India to the Khar Police Station in Mumbai and all charge sheets in these cases to be submitted in six months and trial to be completed in two years.
The court said that clubbing of FIRs can be done only if the accused comes before the court with that request and that it cannot be done for a third party.
The petitioner stated that he was "tremendously hurt" by Kangana Ranaut's Instagram post which said "Sikh farmers were Khalistani terrorists". Ms Ranaut's statements intended to cause riots, hurt religious sentiments, are defamatory and portray Sikhs "in a totally anti-national manner".
"Ms Ranaut's remarks are totally against the unity of the country and the actress deserves a serious punishment by law. They cannot be brushed aside or excused," the plea added.