New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the arrest of sociologist Ashis Nandy for an alleged anti-Dalit remark he made during the Jaipur Literary Festival (JLF).
"I am grateful to the Supreme Court for the relief. I thank my legal team also," he said after the relief and also thanked media for standing by him.
On caution on utterances of similar kind by Supreme Court, he said apparently sarcastically that he has to now either speak outside the country on within the four walls of home.
Nandy had petitioned on Thursday before the apex court to quash the First Information Report (FIR) registered against him for his comments made at the Jaipur Literature Festival last week.
The police had registered an FIR under section 3(1) of the SC/ST Act against him, which is non-bailable and invites up to 10-years in jail.
"We are moving the Supreme Court for quashing of the FIR as well as laying down the guidelines in terms of something which constitutes an offence against SC/ST Act and something which is said in 'freedom of speech'," Nandy's lawyer Gaurav Kanth said on Thursday.
Kanth informed that there are four FIRs registered against Nandy.
"To our knowledge, I thing there are four of them which have been registered. We don't have the copy of the FIRs, but we know one each is in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Nasik and Raipur and there is something in Patna too," he added.
The lawyer said that his main plea in the apex court is that there was no intent when Nandy had spoken these statements.
To a poser on why the police had not yet questioned Nandy in connection with this case, Kanth said that Nandy was all ready for cooperation in this regard.
Asserting that he has worked for Dalits, OBCs and adivasis for 45 years of his life, Nandy had earlier on Tuesday said that he was ready to go to jail if tried under the Atrocities Act and convicted.
He landed himself in a cesspool of controversy by saying that Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) were the most corrupt, triggering angry reactions and lodging of an FIR against him that could see him behind bars.
He had said: "It is a fact that most of the corrupt come from the OBCs and the Schedule Castes, and now increasingly from the Schedule Tribes, and as long as this is the case, Indian Republic will survive."
Nandy later issued a statement clarifying his comments.
"I also said that if people like me or Richard Sorabjee want to be corrupt, I shall possibly send his son to Harvard giving him a fellowship and he can send my daughter to Oxford. No one will think it to be corruption. Indeed, it will look like supporting talent," said Nandy in a statement.
"But when Dalits, tribals and the OBCs are corrupt, it looks very corrupt indeed," he said.
"However, this second corruption equalizes. It gives them access to their entitlements. And so, as long as this equation persists, I have hope for the Republic," Nandy said.
"I hope this will be the end of the matter. I am sorry if some have misunderstood me. Though there was no reason to do so. As should be clear from this statement, there was neither any intention nor any attempt to hurt any community. If anyone is genuinely hurt, even if through misunderstanding, I am sorry about that, too," he had said.
But despite his statement some groups and politicians wanted him to go to jail.