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‘We take all matters seriously’: SC on fake news on Tablighi Jamaat

On April 13, a bench headed by Chief Justice Bobde and comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao and M.M Shantanagoudar said: “We will not gag the press.”

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Tablighi Jamaat

New Delhi, May 27 : The Supreme Court on Wednesday, directing the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) be made a party to the pleas alleging a section of media was demonising the Muslim community in connection with the Nizamuddin Markaz incident in Delhi, said: “We take all matters seriously.”

The statement came from a bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy as counsel representing Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind (JUH), urged the top court to take the matter seriously. The bench said that “don’t repeat that these matters are serious”.

The bench issued notice to the Centre and the Press Council of India (PCI) and asked the authorities concerned to respond on the matter within two weeks.

“The petitioners (JUH and others) are directed to implead the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) as party respondent in the array of parties. Issue notice to all the respondents as also the newly added respondent(s). Let copies of these writ petitions be served upon the respondents by the petitioners during the course of the day. Mr. K.M. Nataraj, learned Additional Solicitor General appearing for the respondent(s)-Union of India, prays for and is granted two weeks’ time to file reply affidavit,” it said.

The next hearing on the matter is scheduled on June 15.

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, representing the Muslim clerics body, contended before the bench that fake news damage the secular fabric of the nation and broadcast of such news make outs offences under the law. “Why is the government silent,” he submitted. As he urged the apex court to take action against the media organizations, the bench asked the PCI what action it has taken.

The apex court told the Centre’s counsel that do not let people instigate, as these things later become law and order issues. The bench also sought specific reply on the alleged violation of the Cable Television (Regulation) Act by the news channels.

On April 13, a bench headed by Chief Justice Bobde and comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao and M.M Shantanagoudar said: “We will not gag the press.”

The observation from the apex court came on a plea by JUH seeking direction to the Centre to stop the dissemination of fake news and take strict action against the sections of the media spreading bigotry and communal hatred in connection with Nizamuddin Markaz. The bench, which heard the matter through video conferencing, asked the petitioners to implead the PCI as a party in the case and posted the matter for further hearing after two weeks.

The pleas, filed through advocate Ejaz Maqbool, said: “By communalising the issue and demonising the entire Muslim community, the actions of the media pose a serious threat to the life and liberty of Muslims across the country. The demonisation is also an infringement of the right to live with dignity which is also covered under Article 21 of the Constitution.”

As the petitioner’s counsel claimed reports from certain sections of the media constantly talked about Tablighi spreading coronavirus in the country, the bench replied: “We think you should add the Press Council of India as a party to the case. It is a necessary party to this case, implead them, thereafter we will hear this.”

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Dubey killed to cover up his links: Kapil Sibal

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Kapil Sibal

New Delhi, July 10 (IANS) Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Friday said that the encounter killing of gangster Vikas Dubey was predicted by many persons and questioned if it was done to cover up his alleged political links.

“Killed in an encounter. Predicted by many, wilful incompetence. Or, is it a conspiracy to destroy evidence linking Vikas to certain parties and individuals?”

“Commission to investigate politician-police-criminal nexus in UP,” the Supreme Court lawyer added.

Dubey was being transferred from Madhya Pradesh”s Ujjain when he was killed by police after he tried to flee from their custody in Bhauti area near Kanpur on Friday morning. He was wanted for the killing of eight police officials on July 3 in Bikru village in Kanpur district.

–IANS

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Delhi riots: No relief to Sharjeel Imam from HC

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Sharjeel Imam

New Delhi, July 10 (IANS) The Delhi High Court granted no relief to former JNU student Sharjeel Imam as it dismissed his petition challenging the trial court”s order granting more time to complete the probe against him and also seeking default bail in a case pertaining to inflammatory speech during the anti-CAA protests.

A single judge bench of the high court presided by Justice V Kameshwar Rao turned down the petition filed by Imam through advocates Bhavook Chauhan, Surabhi Dhar and Ahmed Ibrahim had also sought court”s direction to release Imam on default bail under section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

The high court had on June 25 reserved its order on petition filed by Imam after hearing the matter at length through video conferencing.

During the course of hearing, Additonal Solicitor General (ASG) Aman Lekhi and advocate Rajat Nair, special counsels appointed by the Delhi L-G in the matters relating to Delhi Police, appearing for the Delhi Police contended that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the investigation has been badly hampered.

“Investigation doesn”t happen through video conferencing. The seizures, searches, movement, almost every part of the probe has been hit badly due to the pandemic,” Lekhi argued.

Senior advocate Rebecca John who was appearing for Imam opposed the submissions of the ASG and submitted that due to the delay in investigation, her client is suffering. “There is no parity between them (police) and me, I am the one who suffers consequences,” John argued.

On June 5, the Delhi Police filed its response before the high court opposing the present petition filed by the former JNU scholar.

In its affidavit, the police claimed, “Imam by way of his speeches was addressing a particular religious section of the society and creating disaffection towards government established by the law by creating unfounded fears in their minds regarding CAA and the process of NRC, which is yet to be implemented in any manner throughout the country barring Assam.”

“The accused by way of his speeches was also spreading falsehood about genocide in Assam. He through his speeches was instigating a particular religious section of the society to disrupt/block the access to North-East region of India from rest of India,” the affidavit read further.

Recently, Delhi”s Patiala House Court dismissed the bail application filed by Imam in a matter pertaining to giving inflammatory speech, asserting that it is bereft of merit.

Imam was in the eye of a storm for his “inflammatory” speech in Delhi”s Jamia Millia Islamia over Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) on December 13 and subsequently on January 16 at Aligarh Muslim University, where he allegedly threatened to “cut off” Assam and the rest of the northeast from the country.

–IANS

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Another disrespectful disposal of victims’ bodies rocks AP

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Corona outbreak PPE Kits

Amaravati, July 10 (IANS) In yet another incident of inhuman disposal of bodies of Covid-19 victims in Andhra Pradesh, municipal authorities in Nellore dumped the bodies in a pit using an earthmover.

A video, which went viral over social media, shows municipal workers taking out dead bodies from an ambulance and throwing them on the front portion of a JCB. The bodies were then dumped into a pit in Penna river.

With the incident caught on camera causing a public outrage, Nellore district collector M.V. Sheshagiri Babu on Friday ordered a probe.

Nellore Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) Hussian Saheb has been appointed as the special officer to conduct the inquiry.

“A video of the burial of those who died of Covid-19 in Nellore district is going viral. The district collector has ordered an inquiry. As Nellore RDO and sub-divisional magistrate, I have been appointed as the investigation officer. I am conducting an inquiry and after completion of the same will submit my report to the collector,” Hussain Saheb said.

Leader of opposition and former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu tweeted on Friday that he was pained to see bodies of Covid-19 victims in Nellore being disrespectfully thrown into a single pit using an earthmover. “This is happening time & again. Y.S. Jagan government must offer an apology to the grieving families who wished for a respectful departure for their loved ones,” tweeted the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief.

This is the third such incident in the state in two weeks. On July 6, municipal authorities in Tirupati used a JCB excavator to lift the body of a COVID victim from an ambulance and dump it into a pit.

Health workers pushed the body onto the excavator, which carried it to a pit and dumped the body in it. The municipal authorities defended the move saying the body weighed nearly 180 kgs.

Tirupati Municipal Commissioner P.S. Girisha said they had to bury the body as the attempt by the municipal staff to cremate it had failed.

In a similar incident in Palasa town of Srikakulam district on June 26, body of a Covid victim was shifted from his house to the cremation ground on a JCB excavator. In another incident in the same district, Covid victim”s body was transported in a tractor.

Taking a serious note of the incidents, the government has suspended six officials.

Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy had expressed anguish for the inhuman act of transporting the mortal remains of Covid-19 patient through JCB excavator and ordered the immediate suspension of the officials.

–IANS

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