The Bombay High Court on Thursday quashed an FIR registered against a shoe manufacturer in nearby Thane city for allegedly hurting religious sentiments of a minority community observing that no case was made against him.
The order was passed by a division bench headed by Justice V M Kanade, who said in such cases police should make preliminary inquiries, probe the matter thoroughly and then register an FIR against the concerned person or parties. The court had in September stayed the criminal proceeding against the shoe manufacturer, Dejul Shah, who was arrested by Naupada police of Thane city under IPC for allegedly hurting the religious sentiments of a community.
On Thursday, it quashed the FIR registered against Shah by Thane police. According to the petition, in 2014, a person named Ibrahim Sheikh had registered an FIR with Naupada police station in Thane alleging that Shah had deliberately embossed alphabet 'M' on the shoe in a manner resembling the word 'Allah' in Urdu language. He was booked under section 295 AIPC (hurting religious sentiments of a community).
The police had summoned him immediately and started investigating the matter. After a few days, Shah was given bail by the local court. After that, the police neither investigated the matter nor filed a charge sheet in the local court. Therefore, Shah had decided to approach the high court requesting quashing of the FIR. "In this case, no offence is made out and therefore we are quashing the FIR," said the bench.
Shah argued that he had no intention to hurt the religious sentiments of any community. The artisans, who had made the shoes were Muslims and even the purchasers of his shoes belonged to the same community.
Therefore, it cannot be said that he had done this intentionally to hurt members of this community, Shah's lawyer pleaded. Shah's lawyer Ashok Pande argued that Shah was as mall-time businessman, who made shoes and sandals locally.