In a respite to Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Supreme Court suspended criminal proceedings against India's limited overs cricket captain on Monday.
A news magazine had potrayed Dhoni as Lord Vishu on its cover page in its April 14, 2013, issue.
The apex court bench of Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice R.K. Agrawal while suspending the criminal proceedings, issued a notice to Jayakumar Hiremath on whose complaint the court in Bengaluru had initiated the trial against Dhoni and had summoned him to appear before it.
Having issued the notice and stalled the Bengaluru court proceedings, the apex court tagged Dhoni's plea with an already pending matter relating to his portrayal as Lord Vishnu.
The trial court had initiated proceedings against Dhoni by invoking Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code that provides punishment for deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any community by insulting its religion or religious belief.
Dhoni moved the apex court challenging the Karnataka High Court order of August 17 declining to interfere with the Bengaluru court's January 17 order, summoning him to appear before it.
Assailing the lower court order of summoning him as "mechanical" without "any application of mind", Dhoni in his petition has contended that the "complaint case is an abuse of process of courts and deserves to be quashed at the outset rather than... making the petitioner (Dhoni) go through the rigours of trial for an offence which is not even made out from the allegations."
Contending that the allegations in the complaint do not constitute the offence punishable under Section 295(a) of the IPC, Dhoni's petition has said that the "Complaint...is manifestly actuated with mala fide and...initiated maliciously with the ulterior motive for personal gains, and to extract money from the petitioner and other accused which is evident from the prayer made in the complaint."