'Scorpion on Shivling' remark returns to haunt Tharoor, Delhi court issues warrant

'Scorpion on Shivling' remark returns to haunt Tharoor, Delhi court issues warrant
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor

New Delhi: A Delhi court has issued a bailable warrant against Congress leader Shashi Tharoor for not appearing in a criminal defamation complaint against him over his alleged 'scorpion on Shivling' remarks referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Noting that neither the senior Congress leader nor his counsel appeared before the court, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Naveen Kumar Kashyap on Monday issued the warrant for November 27. The magistrate also imposed a fine of Rs 500 on the complainant, Delhi BJP leader Rajiv Babbar, who also did not appear before the court.

The court said it was taking a “lenient view” and issuing bailable warrants against the accused with a sum of Rs 5,000 and notice to his surety for November 27, 2019. 

The court was hearing a criminal complaint filed against Tharoor by Babbar, who had said his religious sentiments were hurt by the Congress leader's statement.

In October last year, Tharoor had claimed that an unnamed RSS leader had compared Prime Minister Modi to "a scorpion sitting on a Shivling". He termed it an "extraordinarily striking metaphor".

Tharoor was granted bail in the case in Juneon a personal bond of Rs 20,000 after he appeared before the court and moved an application.

The complainant said, "I am a devotee of Lord Shiva... However, the accused (Tharoor) completely disregarded the sentiments of crores of Shiva devotees, (and) made the statement which hurt the sentiments of all Lord Shiva devotees, both in India and outside the country."

"The complainant's religious sentiments were hurt and the accused deliberately did this malicious act, intending to outrage the religious feelings of Lord Shiva devotees by insulting their religious belief," the complaint added.

The complaint also described Tharoor's statement as "intolerable abuse" and "absolute vilification" of the faith of millions of people.

The complaint was filed under sections 499 (defamation) and 500 (punishment for defamation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).