Kochi: Kerala High Court on Thursday reserved its order on the petition by Union Minister Shashi Tharoor seeking a stay on further proceedings pending against him in a lower court in a case relating to alleged disrespect to the national anthem.

Justice V K Mohanan, before whom the petition came up, heard the same and reserved for order. Tharoor's counsel submitted that his client never attempted to prevent singing of the national anthem and hence allegations of violation of provisions of Prevention of Insult to National Honour Act will not stand.

Counsel K Ramkumar had on Wednesday repeatedly sought for a stay but the court declined and adjourned the matter to Thursday.

Tharoor, in his petition, had complained that the case, alleging violation of provisions of the act, was solely motivated by "political consideration" and further continuance of proceedings will lead only to "intense harassment" to him.

A case was registered against Tharoor on the basis of a private complaint by human rights activist Joy Kaitharath of Ernakulam in the Chief Judicial Magistrate's court contending that he had committed offences under section 3 of the Prevention of Insult to National Honour Act, 1977, enacted to prohibit desecration or insult to the country's national anthem.

It was alleged in the complaint that Tharoor had on December 16, 2008 interrupted the national anthem at a function of the Federal Bank here and had asked the audience to sing it keeping the right hand on the left chest like the Americans, instead of the attention posture.

Tharoor had stated that filing of the complaint and further proceedings were "gross abuse" of process of court. No offence under the act can be even be indicated and much less established.


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