“Even assuming that the statement is false, how is an offence made out,” asked the judges.

Shibu Thomas| TNN | 

MUMBAI: In a setback to the Mumbai police, the Bombay High Court on Thursday questioned the FIR registered against advertising professional Barun Kashyap, who had alleged harassment by “gau rakshaks” over a leather bag. The police claimed Kashyap had lodged a false complaint and booked him under the Indian Penal Code for “promoting enmity between communities”.

Hearing a plea by Kashyap for quashing the case, a division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Anuja Prabhudessai said “prima fa cie the offence alleged is not made out”. The court in its interim order also restrained police from proceeding with the case till further orders.

The orders mean that police will not be able to file a chargesheet in the case till the stay is lifted.

“Even assuming that the statement is false, how is an offence made out,” asked the judges.

Kashyap in a Facebook post on August 19, 2016, alleged his auto driver and some cow vigilantes had harassed him over a leather bag he was carrying. Kashyap then filed a non-cognisable complaint at Amboli police station. Sub sequently , police interrogated Kashyap and claimed he had lodged a false complaint.The police also registered a FIR against Kashyap. The offence under section 153A of IPC, which he has been charged with, carries a jail term of up to five years if convicted.The other offences he has been booked for include, publishing a rumour to cause mischief and using the law to injure or annoy others.

Kashyap was arrested on October 4, 2016, and sent to police custody . He is currently out on bail.

The police have also filed a summary report before the magistrate, seeking initia tion of action against him for lodging a false case.

Kashyap’s lawyers Vijay Hiremath and Chetan Mali said the police had falsely implicated him and no case could have been filed on the basis of the post. In his petition, Kashyap denied he had made up the story for publicity and claimed police officers had threatened and coerced him to change his initial statement. He further claimed that the only intention behind the FIR seemed to be to “make this case a lesson for those citizens who dare to come out in public against the menace of cow vigilantes in the state