SC protects Hyderabad University professor for two weeks over complaints lodged in strife-torn Manipur

The Supreme Court on Monday ordered no coercive steps shall be taken for two weeks against Hyderabad University professor Kham Khan Suan Hausing over two complaints lodged against him in strife-torn Manipur.

While one of the complaints alleges that he committed deliberate acts intended to outrage religious feeling in Manipur, the other is regarding purported wrongdoing in enrolment as a voter of the state.

A bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud said in order to facilitate Hausing in seeking access to the competent court for appropriate remedy, “for two weeks from today, no coercive steps be taken against him”.

The bench, also comprising Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, was hearing a plea by the professor seeking protection from arrest in these complaints.

Senior advocate Anand Grover, appearing for Hausing, said the two cases have been filed against him and a magisterial court in Imphal has also issued summons to him in one of them.

Arguing that the situation in Manipur is very serious, Grover said one of the complaints relates to an interview he gave to a news portal.

He said the professor had not made any speech and he needed protection so he can seek appropriate remedy in these complaints.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Manipur, said an order passed by the magistrate cannot be challenged directly before the apex court in a petition under Article 32 of the Constitution.

Article 32 of the Constitution deals with remedies for enforcement of fundamental rights and 32 (1) says the right to move the apex court by appropriate proceedings for enforcement of rights conferred by this part is guaranteed.

Mehta said the magisterial court had passed an order in one of the private complaints filed there.

“You (petitioner) can pray for anticipatory bail,” the bench told Grover.

The senior advocate said the petitioner only wanted interim protection as the situation in the northeastern state is very serious because of the ethnic strife.

The bench noted a criminal complaint was lodged against Hausing in a Chief Judicial Magistrate’s (CJM) court for the alleged offences punishable under several sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), incluidng 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth etc) and 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs).

It noted the magisterial court had last month issued summons to the petitioner in the criminal complaint.

The apex court said another complaint relates to probe into alleged wrongdoing in enrolment of the petitioner in the electoral roll of the state.

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It said the petitioner will be at liberty to seek appropriate remedies, including anticipatory bail, before the competent court.

The top court is seized of a batch of petitions on the violence in Manipur.

It had recently expressed anguish over the manner in which women were subjected to grave atrocities in the state and said mobs use sexual violence to send out a message of subordination to the other community and the state is bound to stop this.

The apex court had also asked the three-member committee of former high court judges — Justice Gita Mittal, former Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court, Justice Shalini Phansalkar Joshi, former Judge of the Bombay High Court and Justice Asha Menon, former Judge of the Delhi High Court — to inquire into the nature of violence against women that occurred in Manipur since May 4.

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