The Punjab and Haryana High Court quashed the charges under IPC against former Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh for using casteist slur ‘bhangi’.
The grounds spelt out in the petition for quashing the FIR are that respondent (complainant) ‘does not have clean hands’ and has misinterpreted the issue to be one as an act in violation of the provisions of the Act. The respondent has no locus standi to register the FIR as the word in question (bhangi) as was used by the petitioner, was neither directed at him nor at any other member of the dalit community; and therefore the motive of the said respondent, in getting the FIR registered, was only to blackmail the petitioner and to extract money from him.
The petitioner contended that at the outset that he is a victim of gross persecution and harassment at the hands of respondent who has initiated malicious prosecution by abusing the process of law.
He argued that in April 2020, he and his colleague, Rohit Sharma, had a live chat, on a social media platform, namely Instagram, to inter alia discuss as to how lives have become amidst the pandemic and the then prevailing lock-down.
He submitted that in such conversation with Rohit Sharma, referred to two other persons (Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav), by referring to them as “Bhangi (in a friendly manner)” with the said two persons being colleagues and friends, with therefore there being no intent to disrespect them or any community during the conversation.
Rajat Kalsan respondent, contended that the complaint was filed by him upon him having seen the video clip in question, with that clip also having been seen by a very large number of persons on the ‘Instagram Live Chat’, as the petitioner has about 20 million followers on the said social media platform.
He contended that the word bhangi, as used by the petitioner, is a pejorative, which is in violation of the provisions of the Act.
The single judge bench of Justice Amol Rattan Singh opined that if the effect of the word used is causing emotional hurt, humiliation etc. to any members of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, a particular caste name having been used in a derogatory manner, even if the intention of the petitioner was obviously not to actually so hurt any person, yet it would not entitle the court to quash the FIR on that ground, even though the petitioner submitted that he is willing to do charitable work for the welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
The court partly allowed the petition to the extent that qua the offenses punishable under Sections 153-A and 153-B of the IPC, the said offenses are not found to be offenses committed by the petitioner even prima facie.
The court dismissed the petition as regards the commission of any offense punishable under the provisions of the Act of 1989, with the investigating agency to continue with its investigation wholly impartially and independently, to come to its own conclusion as to whether any such offense has been committed by the petitioner or not.
Case title: Yuvraj Singh v/s State of Haryana and another