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Tharoor in legal trouble in national anthem 'insult' case

March 23, 2009 17:39 IST
Former United Nations diplomat, and now the Congress Lok Sabha candidate from Thiruvananthapuram, Sashi Tharoor faced legal trouble as a court in Kochi on Monday found prima facie evidence against him for making a "grossly inappropriate gesture" in a case accusing him of insulting the national anthem.

Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Cherian K Kuriakose said there is prima facie ground to proceed against Tharoor on a complaint, alleging that he had committed offences under Section 3 of Prevention of Insult to National Honour Act, 1977, which prohibits desecration or insult to the national anthem.

The judge, in his order, said Tharoor's reported request to follow the US style of placing the right palm over the heart was prima facie in defiance to the above imperative official instructions imparted to the nation, which should be taken as a "grossly inappropriate gesture" on the part of the accused.

In his complaint, Joy Kaitharath alleged that Tharoor, after delivering the Hormis memorial lecture in Kochi in December last year, interrupted the national anthem, urging the audience to place the palm over the heart as people do in US instead of the Indian practice of standing in attention.

The court issued notice to Tharoor to appear before it on April 18 after examining three witnesses. It said the evidence given by the witnesses would prima facie give the indication that the above argument carries weight, and added that Tharoor's presence was necessary to resolve the question over whether a charge could be framed against him.

Tharoor is making his maiden bid to contest the coming Lok Sabha polls as Congress candidate from Thiruvananthapuram.

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