SC refuses relief to Pawan Khera for jibe against Modi

New Delhi: In a major setback to senior Congress leader, Pawan Khera, the Supreme Court on Thursday refused to quash the criminal case registered against senior Congress leader and spokesperson Pawan Khera for his remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“An offence cannot be wished away,” said the two-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice B R Gavai, and also comprising Justice Sandeep Mehta.

“Anyway, sorry, we are not inclined. We are not passing any interim relief at this stage in the matter,” Justice Gavai said.

Pawan Khera was arrested nearly a year ago for referring to Prime Minister Modi as “Narendra Gautamdas Modi” in an apparent attempt to link him to industrialist Gautam Adani.

He has been charged with attempting to degrade and destabilise the nation, promoting enmity and hatred between different groups, disturbing public peace, and defamation.

Advocate Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the Congress leader, argued that these charges were a ‘complete stretch’.

Meanwhile, Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta, the senior law officer representing the Uttar Pradesh government, said that the chargesheet was ready, and thereby the trial must proceed in the case against the accused, Khera.

Singhvi also pointed out that Khera had issued a prompt apology on a separate post on X.

On March 20 last year, the top court had clubbed three FIRs lodged against Khera in Assam and Uttar Pradesh for allegedly making objectionable remarks against Prime Minister Modi and transferred the matter to the Hazratganj police station in Lucknow while extending his interim bail.

The Lucknow court had granted him bail in the case.

Khera has tendered an unconditional apology in the court for the alleged remarks.