September 09, 2019

Supreme Court Stays Fines Imposed On Tehseen Poonawala By Punjab & Haryana High Court For 'Insulting' Jain Monk

[ By Bobby Anthony ]


The Supreme Court has stayed the fines imposed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on activist Tehseen Poonawala and musician Vishal Dadlani for 'insulting' Jain monk Tarun Sagar on a social media platform.

Earlier, the high court had imposed a fine of Rs 10 lakh each on both Poonawala and Vishal Dadlani though it was found that criminal cases registered against them are liable to be quashed.

The stay order was issued by the Supreme Court in response to a Special Leave Petition filed by Tehseen Poonawala.

Poonawalla and Dadlani had tweeted their criticism of Jain monk addressing the Haryana assembly in a state of complete nudity. Poonawalla’s tweet had carried the picture of a semi-nude lady compared with the Jain monk’s nude appearance.

After these tweets, a certain Puneet Arora filed a complaint and an FIR was registered against Poonawalla and Dadlani under Section 295-A, Section 153-A and Section 509 of the Indian Penal Code, besides Section 66E of the Information Technology Act.

Thereafter, the Punjab & Haryana High Court noted that their offenses are liable to be quashed, but imposed fines of Rs 10 lakh each against Poonawalla and Dadlani, “so that in future they may not mock at any head of a religious sect, just to gain publicity on social media like Twitter”.

The Punjab & Haryana High Court directed Poonawala to deposit Rs 5 lakh with the Tarun Kranti Manch Trust created by late Jain Muni Tarun Sagar and another Rs 5 lakh with the Poor Patient's Fund of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research at Chandigarh.

Dadlani was directed to deposit Rs 5 lakh with the Shri Digamber Jain Mandir Trust, Sector 27, Chandigarh and Rs lakh with the Punjab and Haryana High Court Advocates Welfare Fund.

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