The Supreme Court on Friday refused to stay the multiple FIRs registered against the alleged mastermind of the online platforms “Sulli Deals” and “Bulli Bai”, which put articulate Muslim women up for mock auctions.
It, however, issued notices on the plea from the accused, Madhya Pradesh-based Aumkareshwar Thakur, to club all the FIRs filed against him in various states and have the case investigated and tried in Delhi.
While issuing notices to the police of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Delhi, where the FIRs have been registered, the bench asked searching questions on the viability of clubbing the FIRs since they had been filed by different women.
“You have uploaded photos of multiple women and each one of them is an aggrieved person. You are now saying that they should be clubbed because both websites are yours. Can it be done?” the bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M.M. Sundresh asked Thakur’s counsel, senior advocate Rajeev Sharma.
“See, there are different offences. One is relating to the Sulli Deals and another (to) Bulli Bai. We want to know whether the offences can be treated as conjoint and clubbed together. Can you say (that) whatever is uploaded on the two websites must be confined to one FIR?”
The bench declined the plea to stay the FIRs, saying: “We have our own doubts.”
Hundreds of Muslim women had been listed for mock auction on the two websites, with their photographs sourced without permission and doctored.
Thakur had sought quashing of all the FIRs, or their clubbing, on the ground that the alleged offence was one and the same.
He had cited the apex court’s 2001 judgment in T.T. Anthony vs State of Kerala, where it had ruled that only one FIR can be registered over the same offence.
The apex court had in recent weeks clubbed the multiple FIRs registered against AltNews co-founder Mohd Zubair, accused of hurting Hindu sentiments through social media posts, and those against former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma over her derogatory comments on Prophet Mohammed.