New Delhi: Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari cannot take advantage of being a mosque head and try to browbeat powers of courts under “fictitious” and “imaginary” threat of communal tension, a court said while refusing to quash a criminal case against him. While terming as “funny and hilarious” the ground of possible communal tension, it also rejected the Imam’s contention that he has Z-Plus security and inconvenience would be caused if he was taken to face trial, saying in the National Herald case, top Congress brass including Sonia and Rahul Gandhi appeared as accused in a court in New Delhi.
“It does not appear to be tenable because recently some senior leaders of the Opposition party, namely Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, who were summoned as accused in the National Herald case, and who had much higher degree of security threat had appeared before the court of law without any kind of inconvenience being caused to any one,” Additional Sessions Judge Lokesh Kumar Sharma said.
If such exemptions and exceptions are carved out in legal arena, none of the “so-called head priests” of any sect would ever be brought to the corridors of justice, the court said.
The remarks were made by the court while dealing with the Imam’s revision petition against a magisterial court’s May 2016 order rejecting an application by the prosecutor under section 321 (withdrawal of prosecution) of CrPC in a case of alleged assault on public servants and damage to public property in 2001.
“It appears the petitioner is trying to take advantage of his being the head priest (Shahi Imam) of Jama Masjid, representing a particular community and is trying to brow beat the powers of the courts under a fictitious and imaginary threat of an outburst of communal tension and unrest.
“The petitioner, like any other ordinary citizen of India, is liable to be prosecuted and tried by the court in accordance with law, to meet the ultimate fate of the criminal case registered against him like any other accused,” it said.
The judge also imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 on him with a direction to deposit the amount in Prime Minister’s Relief Fund for “wasting the precious judicial time of the court”.