A Delhi court on Saturday imposed a cost of Rs 5,000 on Congress leader Shashi Tharoor for not appearing in hearing on a criminal defamation complaint filed against him for his alleged "scorpion" remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vishal Pahuja imposed the cost on the Lok Sabha member from Thiruvananthapuram noting that he had failed to appear before him despite the court's earlier direction.
The court was hearing the complaint filed by Delhi BJP leader Rajeev Babbar, who claimed that his religious sentiments were hurt.
"I am a devotee of Lord Shiva... However, the accused (Tharoor) completely disregarded the sentiments of crores of Shiva devotees, made the statement which hurt the sentiments of all the Lord Shiva devotees, both in India and outside the country," the complaint said.
"The complainant's religious sentiments were hurt and accused deliberately did this malicious act, intending to outrage religious feelings of Lord Shiva devotees by insulting their religious beliefs," it said.
The complaint, filed through advocate Neeraj, termed the statement as an "intolerable abuse" and "absolute vilification" of the faith of millions of people.
The complaint was filed under sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code relating to defamation.
According to report in The Hindu, it was in October 2018 that Tharoor had claimed that an unnamed RSS leader had compared Modi to "a scorpion sitting on a Shivling". Tharoor is quoted to have said that “...There is an extraordinarily striking metaphor expressed by an unnamed RSS source to a journalist which I quote, in which they express their frustration with their inability to curb Mr Modi. The man says Modi is like a scorpion sitting on a Shivaling. You cannot remove him with a hand and you cannot hit it with a chappal either.”
The Delhi court had initially summoned Tharoor in April 2019 after a complaint was filed against him for making the remark.
(With inputs from PTI)