Alleged ‘Hinduphobia’ Promotion: SC Quashes FIR Against Indore College Principal

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Justices criticise allegations as ‘absurd’ and question the state’s motives in pursuing the case

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI – The Supreme Court has dismissed the first information report (FIR) against Prof. Inamur Rehman, Principal of Indore’s New Government Law College. The principal was accused of promoting ‘Hinduphobia’ and anti-India sentiments through certain books in the college library, sparking a contentious legal battle that now has culminated in his favour.

Justices B.R. Gavai and Sandeep Mehta, presiding over the case, labelled the allegations in the FIR as absurd, notably highlighting that the contentious books were also available in the Supreme Court library. The court questioned the State’s fervent pursuit of the case against Rehman, expressing skepticism about the motives behind the prosecution.

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

The origins of the case trace back to protests by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), a student organisation affiliated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), against the presence of two books in the college library. Authored by Dr. Farhat Khan, the books titled ‘Collective Violence and Criminal Justice System’ and ‘Women and Criminal Law’ contained passages critical of Hindu society’s treatment of women.

Subsequently, an FIR was filed against Rehman based on a complaint from an LLM student associated with the ABVP, alleging offenses under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) including promoting enmity between communities. This led to the suspension of faculty members, Rehman’s resignation, and a police investigation.

In December 2022, the Supreme Court intervened, staying Rehman’s arrest pending further legal proceedings. During the recent hearing, Rehman’s lawyer underscored his impending retirement, emphasising the need for a resolution in the matter.

Despite opposition from the State of Madhya Pradesh to interim relief and its suggestion to expedite proceedings in the high court, the Supreme Court determined that the high court had not properly exercised its jurisdiction. Consequently, the apex court quashed the FIR, asserting that it was nothing but an absurdity.

Advocate Aljo K. Joseph represented Prof. Rehman in the legal proceedings, which have now concluded in his favour, marking a significant victory for academic freedom and due process in the country’s legal landscape.

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