The Supreme Court today refused to grant anticipatory bail to Tamil actor and BJP leader S Ve Shekher, against whom a case was lodged for sharing a Facebook post allegedly containing derogatory references to women journalists and the media.
The court asked Shekher to approach Egmore Metropolitan Magistrate Court in Tamil Nadu for regular bail as police had filed the charge sheet in the case.
A bench of justices L Nageswara Rao and M M Shantanagoudar said that once the charge sheet is filed in a case, the accused can seek regular bail but not anticipatory bail.
“He is a very big actor. You may not know but I know. Nobody can be given any special treatment under the law. You move trial court and seek regular bail,” Justice Rao said.
Advocate Balaji Srinivasan, appearing for the actor-turned- politician said that court can grant some relief to his client.
He said that the actor has already tendered an apology and deleted the post on the social networking site.
The bench said that law is very clear that once a charge sheet is filed after completion of investigation, the accused has to seek regular bail.
Counsel for Tamil Nadu informed the court that police has concluded its investigation and filed the charge sheet in the case.
The bench disposed of the plea of Shekher seeking anticipatory bail in the case.
On May 22, the apex court had granted interim protection from arrest till June 1 to Shekher and sought reply from the state government challenging the May 10 order of Madras High Court dismissing his petition seeking anticipatory bail in the case.
It had directed that no coercive action should be taken against Shekhar till then.
An FIR was registered against Shekher by the cyber crime cell for alleged offences under various sections of the IPC, including insult intended to provoke breach of peace, gesture and words intended to insult the modesty of a woman and under provisions of Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Women Harassment Act.
He has claimed in his plea that he was not the author of the Facebook post and was not aware about its contents when he forwarded it after receiving it from one Tirumalai Sa.
He has also said that he had removed the post after he came to know about its content.
“I am no way connected to the said message, which was simply forwarded by me without reading the contents of the message only on the bona fide impression and over-confidence,” he had said in his plea filed in the high court.
He had claimed in the high court that the case was lodged against him by making baseless allegations and there was no iota of truth in it. He had also said there was no intention on his part to defame or hurt anyone.
Journalists had condemned and staged protests against Shekher for the post, which he had later deleted. The post had made alleged insinuations against the media and women journalists following the “patgate” row involving Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit.
The 78-year-old governor had last month patted a woman journalist on the cheek, apparently seeking to avoid answering a question she had asked. The governor had later apologised to the women scribe.