AROON PURIE Vs. STATE OF HARYANA
HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA
STATE OF HARYANA
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MAHESH GROVER, J. -
(1.) THE petitioners have invoked the jurisdiction of this Court under the provisions of Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. and have prayed that the criminal complaint bearing No. 192-1 of 15.12.2003 titled "Mukesh Garg v. Aroon Purie and others", as also the summoning order dated 13.10.2004 passed in pursuance thereto be quashed.
(2.) AN article which appeared in the weekly magazine, namely, "India Today" published by Living Media India Ltd., New Delhi of which petitioner No. 1 is the Editor-in-Chief, whereas petitioner No. 2 is the Publishing Director and petitioner No. 3 is the Editor, Printer and Publisher, irked the respondent No. 2-complainant which led to the filing of the aforesaid complaint against the petitioners with the allegations that they have committed an offence punishable under Sections 499 and 500 of the I.P.C. as the contents thereof were defamatory and derogatory to the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (hereinafter referred to as 'the R.S.S.') of which organisation he is a member.
The India today in its issue of August 18, 2003 carried a series of articles under the heading "56 Events that changed India". The article in question, which appeared with S. No. 3 at pages 12-13 of this issue with the title "Gandhi's Assassination Killing a Dream", is reproduced below :-
"1948 One of the greatest ideas of the 20th century was killed at 5.03 p.m. on January 30, 1948. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the man who led India to freedom by redefining the very concept of protest, stepped out of the Birla House in Delhi and walked towards the garden to hold a prayer meeting. Among the 300 people who greeted him that evening was Nathuram Godse, an RSS worker, who fired three shots at close range from his automatic 9 mm Beretta into the fragile chest of the Mahatma. That was his way of saluting the "author of Partition". And that was the end of a saint among politicians, the highest apostle of non-violence falling to the violence of the extreme, self-righteous Hindu nationalism. Gandhi, Father of the Nation, would be assassinated again and again by the legatees of Gandhism. The values he stood for, the values he gave his life for have already been made redundant by a country that has come a long way since 1948, politically and culturally. And Gandhi has taken refuge in textbooks, not certainly the passion that assassinated him. Godse's grandchildren continue to invent enemies, within and without, reaffirming the terrible reality; the idea that killed Gandhi is alive - and thriving." (Emphasis supplied)
(3.) FINDING his sensibility offended by the above reproduced article and especially the words emphasized, the complainant, who claimed himself to be Seh Zila Karayvahak of the R.S.S. and also associated with Hindu Siksha Samiti, Bharat Vikas Parishad and Adhivakta Parishad, served a legal notice dated 10.9.2003 upon the petitioners and asked them to publish an unconditional apology in the next issue of the magazine and to withdraw the false and frivolous allegations qua the R.S.S.;
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