The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the arrest of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and six journalists over their allegedly objectionable tweets on the farmers' tractor rally violence at the Red Fort Republic Day. The court adjourned the matter for hearing for two weeks and issued notices to all petitions on the matter.
"We will hear it after two weeks we will stay arrest in the meanwhile," said Chief Justice of India SA Bobde.
However, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Delhi police, opposed any relief to the accused and wanted the case to be adjourned to Wednesday. He argued that their tweets on a farmer being "shot" during the rally had a "horrendous" effect on the public, given their large followers on social media.
The Solicitor General said, "I can show you what horrendous effect these tweets have with such lakhs of followers."
Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi and Karanjawala & Co. appearing for one of the petitioners countered the argument saying no religious sentiments were hurt due to the tweet. He said the report on the January 26 violence was shared and later corrected.
"There is no religious sentiment was hurt. It was a January 26 report on some person being shot and then we corrected it to something else," Rohatgi said.
Defence counsel Kapil Sibal questioned, "What is the prejudice caused if their arrest is stayed?" Sibal sought an order from the bench stating that "no conceive action will be taken till the Supreme Court hears the case".
A three-judge bench of CJI Bobde, Justice AS Bopanna, and Justice V Ramasubramanian heard the petitions filed by Tharoor and six journalists seeking the quashing of police cases against them.
The FIRs had been filed against them in five states against misleading posts shared on Twitter, and they were charged with criminal conspiracy, sedition, and promoting enmity.