Explain how 4 Editors Guild members promoted enmity in Manipur, says Supreme Court : The Tribune India

Explain how 4 Editors Guild members promoted enmity in Manipur, says Supreme Court

Explain how 4 Editors Guild members promoted enmity in Manipur, says Supreme Court

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Tribune News Service

Satya Prakash

New Delhi, September 15

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the complainant against four members of the Editors Guild of India (EGI) to spell out how a case of promoting enmity between different ethnic groups was made out against them in Manipur.

A Bench led by CJI DY Chandrachud, which extended the protection from coercive action granted to the four EGI members by further by two weeks, asked the complainant to respond to the EGI members’ petition seeking quashing of the FIRs lodged by the Manipur Police.

Extends protection

  • The SC extends protection from coercive action by two weeks
  • Asks complainant to respond to plea seeking quashing of FIRs
  • FIRs lodged over report indicting local press for ‘biased coverage’

The FIRs were registered against EGI president Seema Mustafa and its members Seema Guha, Bharat Bhushan and Sanjay Kapoor for their September 2 report that indicted the local press for “biased reporting”. The four members were part of a fact-finding team that visited the state to examine how the local media reported the violence.

“Even if the EGI’s report is assumed to be false, making false statements in an article, by itself, was not an offence under Section 153A of the IPC (promoting enmity between different groups)… You have to establish that the ingredients of the offence are being made out in my complaint,” the CJI told senior counsel Guru Krishnakumar, who represented the complainants.

A complaint or an FIR could not be treated as an encyclopedia, and that an investigation had to take place, Krishnakumar submitted. “You have to show us in a case like this your complaint, does it even make out a whisper of the ingredients of the offence? Your entire complaint is a counter-narrative of the government... You have basically put forth a counter-narrative, assuming that what they have said is false,” the CJI told Krishnakumar.

“Making a false statement in an article is not an offence under Section 153A. It may be incorrect. Incorrect things are reported all across the country every day. Will you prosecute journalists for 153A?” the CJI noted.

On behalf of the Manipur Government, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that the EGI members may continue to be protected and their petition should be transferred to the Delhi High Court, if the Bench wanted to.

#Manipur #Supreme Court

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