A recent Supreme Court order has upheld the move to hand over actor Sushant Singh Rajput's death case to the CBI. The Court also ruled that the FIR registered in Patna by Sushant Singh Rajput's family was correct.
Following these developments in the case, the Bihar government and police have claimed a big win and "vindication".
Celebrating the Supreme Court order, Bihar's Director General of Police Gupteshwar Pandey told reporters: "Rhea Chakraborty does not have the aukat to comment on the Bihar Chief Minister. What the police did was correct, and according to legal and constitutional provisions."
Pandey said this while responding to questions regarding Rhea referring to Nitish Kumar in her statement to the Supreme Court on whether politics played a role in Bihar's investigations into the FIR registered by Sushant Singh Rajput's father, and the state's consequent move to hand the case over to the CBI.
"Because of the support that the Bihar Chief Minister gave us, there is hope today for justice for Sushant Singh Rajput. The fight has come to this point because of the Chief Minister's support," Pandey said.
Pandey's comment on Rhea has sparked outrage over social media.
Upon being asked about his intention behind questioning Rhea's 'aukat', Pandey said: "The meaning of 'Aukat' in English is stature. Rhea Chakraborty does not have the stature to comment on Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. She shouldn't forget that she is a named accused in FIR in Sushant Singh Rajput case which was under me and now with CBI. If a political leader comments on Bihar Chief Minister, then I am nobody to comment over it. But if an accused makes some baseless comment on Bihar Chief Minister then it is objectionable. She should fight the battle legally."
Pandey, however, later apologized for his comment. "If my use of the word "aukat" caused her any discomfort, I am apologising for that," he said in an interview.
Who Determines Our 'Aukat'?
Can a police officer ascertain what our stature is? No.
Does Rhea Chakraborty, or any other citizen, have the right to criticize our government? Yes.
Here is what Article 19(1)(a) of Indian Constitution says: all citizens have the right to freedom of speech and expression -- which refers to the right to express one's own convictions and opinions freely by word of mouth, writing, printing, pictures or any other mode.
We have the right to dissent. We have the right to disagree. No matter what status or stature we belong to, no individual has the right to slam us for exercising these rights.
The Director General of Police (DGP) is the highest ranking police officer in an Indian state, and power comes with responsibility. A DGP represents an entire police force of a state.
A comment such as this coming from a police chief reflects poorly on the entire state's law-and-order system.
It is already difficult for opinionated women to exist in our society. However, we should be able to depend on our law-and-order system to function fairly, responsibly, and most importantly, we want the system, including the police force, to be accountable.
If a person does not raise doubts, does not question the government's functioning, we have no hope of a changing future.
Rhea Chakraborty's 'aukat' being questioned because she criticised the government -- regardless of whether her comment was sensible or not -- is another instance that requires us to stress the fact that we do not live in an Orwellian society.
India is a democratic country, and not a monarchy. We are citizens, not subjects, and we have the right to criticize the government without fear.
We cannot be slammed or labelled, by anobody, for expressing dissent or disagreement.