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Sonu Nigam gets HC respite, Irrfan Khan questions his stand

The Punjab and Haryana High Court found no objection to the word 'gundagardi' used by the singer against the use of loudspeakers. 

Picture: Shutterbugs Images

Our Correspondent

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has dismissed a plea against singer Sonu Nigam for his comments over azaan made last month. The petition was filed by a resident of Sonepat in Haryana alleging that the singer was ‘hurting’ the sentiments of Muslims and disrespecting their constitutional right to handle their religious affairs.

Dismissing the petition as a ‘cheap’ publicity stunt, the bench said, “If the contents of the complaint are seen in the context of Section 295-A of the Indian Penal Code (hurting religious sentiments), the words used in the tweet are not meant to insult any religion or religious belief of any class of citizens and are apparently not deliberate or malicious.”

The bench also didn’t find the usage of the word ‘gundagardi’ against the practice of using loudspeakers for azaan. “A fair interpretation of the words used by respondent no 4 (Nigam) clearly indicates that the word ‘gundagardi’ in tweet no 4 is not addressed in the context of the azaan but the use of loudspeakers and amplifiers,” the bench added. 

In another development, actor Irrfan Khan has disagreed with Nigam’s stand on the issue. The actor questioned as to why there is no hue and cry over other sounds. “The loudspeaker matter is a big one. We will have to first think that are we, as a society, really so sensitive when it comes to sound? Are we sensitive about sound in other places? When there is a noisy discotheque near a hospital, do we talk about it then? If somebody has a problem with something then we should tackle all other problems related to the whole matter.” 

Irrfan also indirectly took a dig at Sonu asking if he has problems with other sounds too. “In other countries, there are certain restrictions when it comes to car horns, this is because people are very sensitive to sound or noise of any kind. First of all, we will have to figure out what is the actual factor that is causing a certain person so much stress related to the sound of a loudspeaker. And, then also figure out if they have a problem with loudspeakers used for azaan or elsewhere too,” he added. 

Incidentally, Irrfan was in the news last year for his comments against Islamic clerics. For Sonu Nigam though, the decision by the High Court might prove to be vindication enough.