The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a petition filed by an accused, who is the alleged creator of the Sulli Deals app, seeking clubbing of FIRs lodged in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra with the first FIR registered in Delhi.
In July 2021, an FIR was registered by the Delhi Police and it was alleged that on a hosting platform ‘Github’, a program namely ‘Sulli deal of the day’ was created where pictures of several Muslim women were uploaded without their consent, purportedly for online auction.
Later, in January this year, another FIR was lodged by the Delhi Police in connection with the ‘Bullibai’ app and it was alleged that the content of the app was aimed at insulting Muslim women.
The apex court sought responses from Delhi, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh on the plea by Aumkareshwar Thakur, who has sought to quash the FIRs lodged in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, or any other complaint filed across the country concerning Sulli deals app.
While hearing the matter, a bench of Justices S K Kaul and M M Sundresh orally observed that there are different offences as there have been multiple uploads and persons, whose pictures have been uploaded, are the aggrieved party.
The bench, which said it would not stay any probe in these FIRs, issued notice on the plea and posted it for hearing after three weeks.
Thakur, in his plea settled by senior advocate Rajeev Sharma, said that multiple FIRs and complaints concerning the Sulli deals app have been filed against him in various states relating to the same incident.
”The relief sought in the present writ petition is in terms of the judgment passed by this court in ‘TT Antony vs State of Kerala’…..for quashing of all the same or similar FIRs except the first one …and that a single investigation may be proceeded with,” said the petition, drawn by advocates Sahil Bhalaik and Tushar Giri.
In the alternative, the petitioner has sought clubbing of all the subsequent FIRs with the first FIR registered by the Delhi Police in July last year.
”It is submitted that the successive registration of FIRs in Delhi, UP and Maharashtra is beyond the purview of sections 154 and 156 of CrPC (Code of Criminal Procedure) and is a case which exhibits abuse of statutory power of investigation by different investigating agencies,” the plea said.
It said that two FIRs, one lodged in Delhi and the other one at Noida in Uttar Pradesh, relates to alleged offences concerning the Sulli deals app.
The plea said two other FIRs have been registered in Delhi and Maharashtra respectively for the alleged offences concerning the Bullibai app.
The plea said the case of Delhi Police was that one Neeraj Bishnoi, who was arrested in connection with the FIR concerning the ‘Bullibai’ app, had disclosed Thakur’s name and alleged that the petitioner was behind the creation of the Sulli deals app, which has allegedly promoted enmity between groups on ground of religion.
”The filing of the successive FIRs will result in the petitioner facing investigation and consequent trial for the same offence in multiple jurisdictions throughout the country and as such has violated the fundamental rights of the Petitioner enshrined in the Constitution,” it said, adding that the petitioner has no nexus with the alleged offences.
It said the first case lodged in Delhi in July 2021 may be treated as the main FIR and the subsequent FIRs may be quashed.