HC imposes Rs 25K cost on fan for PIL over Sukesh Chandrasekhar letters to Jacqueline, Nora

The Delhi High Court has dismissed with cost of Rs 25,000 a public interest litigation (PIL) by a “hardcore fan” aggrieved by the “derogatory letters” written by Sukesh Chandrasekhar to actors Jacqueline Fernandez and Nora Fatehi, involved in criminal proceedings together with the alleged conman.

In an order released Monday, a bench headed by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma said the perceived status of a “fan” did not grant the petitioner, Nishant Singh, the authority to seek relief on behalf of the actors who are well-equipped to protect their interests.

Stating that the petition was an abuse of the process of law, “replete with vague and reckless allegations” and a “misguided attempt to garner cheap publicity”, the court directed the petitioner to deposit the cost with Army Battle Casualties Welfare Fund within a period of thirty days, failing which it shall be recovered as arrears of land revenue.

“The Court finds the petition lacking in substance and merit, rendering it a regrettable waste of valuable judicial time. Despite Mr. Singh’s professed commitment to what he perceives as a cause of public interest, the Court is disappointed with the frivolous nature of the petition,” said the bench, also comprising Justice Sanjeev Narula.

“The instant PIL is a sheer abuse of the judicial process, which deserves to be dismissed with costs. Accordingly, it is directed that the Petitioner shall deposit a cost of Rs. 25,000/- with the Army Battle Casualties Welfare Fund, within a period of thirty days from today,” the court ordered.

In the order, the court observed that PILs are intended to foster bonafide public interest and frivolous PILs, such as the present one, lead to waste of judicial time and resources.

The court noted according to the petitioner, a fingerprint expert, the letters by Sukesh Chandrasekhar contained derogatory and obscene remarks, amounting to an offence under Section 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of the Indian Penal Code, and have been extensively circulated on social media platforms and news channels.

There are well-defined criminal and civil remedies against the alleged action and the “actresses involved are well-equipped to protect their interests and uphold their personal rights, without the necessity of a third-party representative like the petitioner”, said the court.

“The Petitioner’s grievance seems to stem from personal feelings as a fan of certain celebrities, rather than any legitimate public concern. Being a self-proclaimed third-party fan, the Petitioner lacks the necessary locus standi to maintain the PIL,” the court said.

“Dismissed, along with pending application,” it ruled.

During the hearing held on July 28, the petitioner’s counsel had said he was “hardcore fan” and was aggrieved by the letters written to the actresses by Chandrasekhar.

The court had then said the PIL shall be dismissed with costs.

In his PIL, the petitioner had sought action against government authorities accusing them of conniving with Chandrasekhar to “outrage the modesty” of the two women.

He had said Chandrasekhar’s “false public love stories are heavily impacting on the psychology of our teenagers” and his “public antics” need to be stopped immediately.

“In these letters, by publicly talking about his alleged relations with some women artists, Mr. Sukesh is trying to violate the dignity of the women of this Country and specially woman artist Ms. Jacqueline Fernandez,” the petition said.

It further said Chandrasekhar’s assertions were also being publicised in media and violating the the dignity of the women.

The petitioner claimed Chandrasekhar, lodged in a prison in the national capital, was making “unrestrained” statements in the media and “speaking obscene things publicly”, due to which a female actress would not be able to live her life with dignity.

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The petition said the petitioner was also “hurt” because of Chandrasekhar’s similar conduct in relation to actor Chahatt Khanna.

“It is most respectfully prayed that the Hon’ble Court may be pleased to take immediate action against the respondents (Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Jail Superintendent) who had connived with each other in outraging the modesty of some of the women film artists who are looked up by the nation and people at large in the whole world,” the petitioner said.

Fernandez is an accused in a Rs 200 crore money laundering case lodged against Chandrasekhar. Fatehi and Khanna are witnesses in an extortion case against him being probed by Delhi Police.

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