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SC Quashes FIR Against Indore Law College Principal Over Alleged Hinduphobic Books

15 May 2024: The Supreme Court of India has dismissed the first information report (FIR) against Professor Inamur Rehman, the Principal of Indore’s New Government Law College, who was accused of promoting Hinduphobia and anti-India sentiments through certain books in the college library.

Justices BR Gavai and Sandeep Mehta, who presided over the case, described the allegations in the FIR as absurd, pointing out that the contentious books are also available in the Supreme Court library. The judges questioned the State’s strong inclination to prosecute Rehman.

“Why is the State so keen on persecuting in such a case? This is about syllabus. He was already out on anticipatory bail. This book can be found in the Supreme Court library also. Additional AG is appearing on caveat that too for such a matter!” the Court commented.

Rehman had appealed against a Madhya Pradesh High Court order that refused to grant an interim stay on the FIR and postponed the hearing for ten weeks on his plea to dismiss the case.

The issue began when the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), a student organization linked to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), protested the presence of two books in the library of the Shasakiya Navin Vidhi Mahavidyalaya. These books, authored by Dr. Farhat Khan and titled ‘Collective Violence and Criminal Justice System’ and ‘Women and Criminal Law,’ included passages critical of Hindu society’s treatment of women.

Following a complaint from an LLM student with ties to the ABVP, an FIR was filed against Rehman, accusing him of promoting enmity between communities and other offences under the Indian Penal Code (IPC). This led to the suspension of faculty members, Rehman’s resignation, and a police investigation.

In December 2022, the Supreme Court had stayed Rehman’s arrest. During the latest hearing, Rehman’s lawyer highlighted that Rehman was nearing retirement. Despite the State of Madhya Pradesh’s opposition to interim relief and its suggestion to expedite the Section 482 CrPC proceedings in the High Court, the Supreme Court noted that the High Court had not properly exercised its jurisdiction.

“The single-judge has failed to exercise jurisdiction vested in him under 482. Leave granted. FIR is nothing else but an absurdity,” the Court declared.

The Supreme Court thus quashed the FIR, ruling in favor of Rehman’s appeal.

Advocate Aljo K Joseph represented Professor Rehman.

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