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Teesta Setalvad applies for bail

Courts asks State to respond; hearing scheduled for July 8

07 Jul 2022

Applied for BailImage Courtesy: indiatoday.in

Human rights defender Teesta Setalvad has moved court seeking bail in connection with the trumped-up charges of forgery and conspiracy levelled against her by a vindictive regime, in wake of the Supreme Court’s remarks about her in the Zakia Jafri case judgment. Her bail plea will now be heard on Friday, July 8.

Readers would recall that on June 25, just a day after the judgement was delivered, a unit of the Gujarat Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) had barged into Setalvad’s ancestral bungalow in Mumbai and whisked her away to Ahmedabad after a brief pitstop at the Santacruz Police Station. In fact, it was here that Setalvad had filed a handwritten complaint against two ATS officials for physically assaulting her.

Setalvad was formally arrested on June 26, and the metropolitan magistrate’s court had remanded her to police custody. When she was next produced before the court on July 2, the police said they did not need her further custody and Setalvad was remanded to judicial custody and sent to the Sabarmati Jail pending bail.

On July 6, Additional Sessions Judge DD Thakkar admitted Setalvad’s plea for regular bail. Former Gujarat Director General of Police (DGP) RB Sreekumar, who is also an accused in the case, had also moved court for bail on July 5. The court has now issued notice to the State seeking response and scheduled both bail hearings on July 8.

Both Setalvad and Sreekumar have maintained that the charges of forgery, criminal conspiracy etc. against them are completely baseless and no case can be made out against them based on these charges.

In fact, many legal luminaries, activists, journalists and now even former civil servants have concurred that the arrest is just an example of vendetta. While some have even urged the Supreme Court to suo motu clarify if the court intended for Setalvad and the whistleblowers to face prosecution when it made remarks about them in the Zakia Jafri judgment, the Constitutional Conduct Group (CCG) has gone a step further, and urged the court to withdraw those remarks.

Related:

Review order and withdraw observations against Teesta Setalvad and whistleblowers: CCG to SC
Gujarat court remands Teesta Setalvad to judicial custody
Suo motu clarify Zakia Jafri case judgment's intention to not prosecute Teesta Setalvad: Citizens to CJI

Teesta Setalvad applies for bail

Courts asks State to respond; hearing scheduled for July 8

Applied for BailImage Courtesy: indiatoday.in

Human rights defender Teesta Setalvad has moved court seeking bail in connection with the trumped-up charges of forgery and conspiracy levelled against her by a vindictive regime, in wake of the Supreme Court’s remarks about her in the Zakia Jafri case judgment. Her bail plea will now be heard on Friday, July 8.

Readers would recall that on June 25, just a day after the judgement was delivered, a unit of the Gujarat Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) had barged into Setalvad’s ancestral bungalow in Mumbai and whisked her away to Ahmedabad after a brief pitstop at the Santacruz Police Station. In fact, it was here that Setalvad had filed a handwritten complaint against two ATS officials for physically assaulting her.

Setalvad was formally arrested on June 26, and the metropolitan magistrate’s court had remanded her to police custody. When she was next produced before the court on July 2, the police said they did not need her further custody and Setalvad was remanded to judicial custody and sent to the Sabarmati Jail pending bail.

On July 6, Additional Sessions Judge DD Thakkar admitted Setalvad’s plea for regular bail. Former Gujarat Director General of Police (DGP) RB Sreekumar, who is also an accused in the case, had also moved court for bail on July 5. The court has now issued notice to the State seeking response and scheduled both bail hearings on July 8.

Both Setalvad and Sreekumar have maintained that the charges of forgery, criminal conspiracy etc. against them are completely baseless and no case can be made out against them based on these charges.

In fact, many legal luminaries, activists, journalists and now even former civil servants have concurred that the arrest is just an example of vendetta. While some have even urged the Supreme Court to suo motu clarify if the court intended for Setalvad and the whistleblowers to face prosecution when it made remarks about them in the Zakia Jafri judgment, the Constitutional Conduct Group (CCG) has gone a step further, and urged the court to withdraw those remarks.

Related:

Review order and withdraw observations against Teesta Setalvad and whistleblowers: CCG to SC
Gujarat court remands Teesta Setalvad to judicial custody
Suo motu clarify Zakia Jafri case judgment's intention to not prosecute Teesta Setalvad: Citizens to CJI

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Sharjeel Imam claims he was assaulted, called "terrorist" in jail

JNU student and Delhi riots accused has moved court alleging that other jail inmates have been targeting him

05 Jul 2022

Sharjeel ImamImage Courtesy: indianexpress.com

Sharjeel Imam, who is in judicial custody in connection with the February 2020 Northeast Delhi riots case, has now moved court alleging that he was assaulted by convicts at Tihar Jail and called a terrorist during a search inside his cell.

An application was moved before a link judge of Karkardooma Court in New Delhi by Sharjeel Imam’s lawyer Ibrahim to issue a show case notice to jail authorities for the “illegal assault and search committed upon the applicant” and to direct authorities to take immediate steps to protect him from any “further assault/ harassment”, reported the Indian Express.

In his application, Imam has reportedly claimed that the Assistant Superintendent along with “8-9 convicts came to the cell of the applicant in the name of carrying out a search” and during this “illegal search, the petitioner’s books and clothes were thrown away and he was assaulted and called terrorist and anti-national when he prevented them from throwing stuff.”

According to the Indian Express, Imam even “requested the AS to prevent them from doing the assault as the AS was present there during the entire episode, but to no avail… he was further assaulted by the convicts.” He further alleged that “no contraband was recovered.” Instead, the convicts suggested to “place some contraband to put him in trouble.”

The application also sought directions to jail authorities to preserve the CCTV footage of the jail from 7:15 P.M to 8.30 P.M on June 30, when the said incident took place.

Ibrahim told the Indian Express, “I moved the application to secure his safety. This is the first case of an assault that was disclosed by a riot accused. Search operations are regularly carried out inside his cell and they have never found contraband. This time, jail staff came with convicts which is illegal. Only jail staff can check the cells.”

Here is a copy of the application shared by Sharjeel’s brother Muzzammil Imam on Twitter: 

Brief Background

On May 26, 2022, the Delhi High Court asked Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Sharjeel Imam to approach the trial court in order to seek interim bail in connection with FIR 22/2020 pertaining to the sedition case registered against him for his allegedly provocative speeches against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Sharjeel Imam was arrested by the Delhi police on January 28, 2020 from his home village in Bihar, after the police in five states, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur reportedly filed cases under sedition and terrorism in seven First Information Report (FIRs) against him. He is currently lodged in Tihar, New Delhi.

In 2021, Sharjeel Imam had filed an application for a regular bail plea in connection with FIR No. 242/2019 which has alleged that he delivered provocative speeches in 2019 which led to Delhi Riots at various places observing that the tone and tenor of the incendiary speech tend to have a debilitating effect upon public tranquillity, peace and harmony of the society.

FIR 242/2019 was registered under Section 143/147/148/149/186/353/332/333/307/308/435/427/323/341/120B/34 IPC, u/s 3/4 Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act & u/s 25/27 Arms Act.

This bail was dismissed by Additional Sessions Judge Anuj Agrawal on October 22, 2021, even though the Court had reportedly observed that the evidence against Imam was "scanty and sketchy" to take a prima facie view that his speeches incited riots. It denied him bail noting that further examination was needed to ascertain if the speech amounted to the offence of sedition under Section 124A IPC and promotion of communal disharmony under Section 153A IPC, reported LiveLaw.

Interestingly, on November 27, 2021, the Allahabad High Court granted bail to Sharjeel Imam in connection with FIR No. 50/2020 (a sedition case registered against him in Aligarh) for allegedly delivering an 'anti-national speech' at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) during Anti CAA-NRC protests.

FIR 50/2020 was registered under Sections 124A, 153A, 153B and 505(2) I.P.C

While granting him bail, the Bench of Justice Saumitra Dayal Singh noted, “Neither he called anyone to bear arms nor any violence was incited as a result of the speech delivered by him.”

The same year, Imam had also filed a bail application in connection with FIR No. 22/2020 (with respect to the speeches made by him in Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia area in Delhi) before the Delhi Court. FIR 22/2020 was registered by the Delhi Police under sec. 124A, 153A, 505 of the Indian Penal Code along with sec. 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), which was added later. However, the said regular bail plea was dismissed by Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat on January 24, 2022.

On April 28, 2022, Sharjeel Imam moved the Delhi High Court challenging a trial court order which had dismissed the bail plea in connection with FIR No. 59/2020 (a case alleging larger conspiracy into the Delhi riots of 2020) involving charges under Indian Penal Code and UAPA. However, on May 6, a division bench comprising Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar further adjourned hearings listing the matter to be heard on May 26. The Bench had adjourned the matter on the grounds that it would be appropriate to await the outcome of the Supreme Court regarding the challenge to the constitutional validity of the offence of ‘Sedition’ under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code before continuing with the present appeals.

During this hearing, the Court had decided to hear another challenge made by Imam seeking bail in connection with FIR 22/2020, a case relating to the alleged inflammatory speeches made by him at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and Jamia area in Delhi against the Citizen Amendment Act (CAA).

During the course of the hearing, Advocate Tanveer Ahmed Mir appearing for Sharjeel Imam, relied on an order passed by the Allahabad HC granting bail in a case concerning one of the speeches forming part of the FIR in question. Accordingly, Justice Mridul reportedly said, “If you're saying that order passed by Allahabad HC granting you bail, if you're pressing that, and you say it covers the present appeal, then you have to show us how and what were the allegations in the FIR?”

On May 26, after directing Imam to approach the lower court to seek interim bail in connection with the sedition case registered under FIR no. 22/2020, the Court listed the pending appeals challenging the order denying Imam bail as well as framing charges against him in the matter on August 26, reported LiveLaw.

There are three more FIRs registered against Imam:

State

FIR No.

Offences

Assam

01/2020

121(A), 124(A), 153(A), 153(B) IPC and S.13(1), 15(a)(iii), 18 UAPA

Manipur

16(1)/2020

121, 121(A), 124(A), 120B, 153(A) IPC

Arunachal Pradesh

02/2020

124A, 153A, 153B IPC

Related:

Delhi HC asks Sharjeel Imam to approach Trial Court to seek interim bail in seditious speeches case
Speech in bad taste, not a terrorist act: Delhi HC On Umar Khalid’s Amravati Speech

Sharjeel Imam claims he was assaulted, called "terrorist" in jail

JNU student and Delhi riots accused has moved court alleging that other jail inmates have been targeting him

Sharjeel ImamImage Courtesy: indianexpress.com

Sharjeel Imam, who is in judicial custody in connection with the February 2020 Northeast Delhi riots case, has now moved court alleging that he was assaulted by convicts at Tihar Jail and called a terrorist during a search inside his cell.

An application was moved before a link judge of Karkardooma Court in New Delhi by Sharjeel Imam’s lawyer Ibrahim to issue a show case notice to jail authorities for the “illegal assault and search committed upon the applicant” and to direct authorities to take immediate steps to protect him from any “further assault/ harassment”, reported the Indian Express.

In his application, Imam has reportedly claimed that the Assistant Superintendent along with “8-9 convicts came to the cell of the applicant in the name of carrying out a search” and during this “illegal search, the petitioner’s books and clothes were thrown away and he was assaulted and called terrorist and anti-national when he prevented them from throwing stuff.”

According to the Indian Express, Imam even “requested the AS to prevent them from doing the assault as the AS was present there during the entire episode, but to no avail… he was further assaulted by the convicts.” He further alleged that “no contraband was recovered.” Instead, the convicts suggested to “place some contraband to put him in trouble.”

The application also sought directions to jail authorities to preserve the CCTV footage of the jail from 7:15 P.M to 8.30 P.M on June 30, when the said incident took place.

Ibrahim told the Indian Express, “I moved the application to secure his safety. This is the first case of an assault that was disclosed by a riot accused. Search operations are regularly carried out inside his cell and they have never found contraband. This time, jail staff came with convicts which is illegal. Only jail staff can check the cells.”

Here is a copy of the application shared by Sharjeel’s brother Muzzammil Imam on Twitter: 

Brief Background

On May 26, 2022, the Delhi High Court asked Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Sharjeel Imam to approach the trial court in order to seek interim bail in connection with FIR 22/2020 pertaining to the sedition case registered against him for his allegedly provocative speeches against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Sharjeel Imam was arrested by the Delhi police on January 28, 2020 from his home village in Bihar, after the police in five states, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur reportedly filed cases under sedition and terrorism in seven First Information Report (FIRs) against him. He is currently lodged in Tihar, New Delhi.

In 2021, Sharjeel Imam had filed an application for a regular bail plea in connection with FIR No. 242/2019 which has alleged that he delivered provocative speeches in 2019 which led to Delhi Riots at various places observing that the tone and tenor of the incendiary speech tend to have a debilitating effect upon public tranquillity, peace and harmony of the society.

FIR 242/2019 was registered under Section 143/147/148/149/186/353/332/333/307/308/435/427/323/341/120B/34 IPC, u/s 3/4 Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act & u/s 25/27 Arms Act.

This bail was dismissed by Additional Sessions Judge Anuj Agrawal on October 22, 2021, even though the Court had reportedly observed that the evidence against Imam was "scanty and sketchy" to take a prima facie view that his speeches incited riots. It denied him bail noting that further examination was needed to ascertain if the speech amounted to the offence of sedition under Section 124A IPC and promotion of communal disharmony under Section 153A IPC, reported LiveLaw.

Interestingly, on November 27, 2021, the Allahabad High Court granted bail to Sharjeel Imam in connection with FIR No. 50/2020 (a sedition case registered against him in Aligarh) for allegedly delivering an 'anti-national speech' at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) during Anti CAA-NRC protests.

FIR 50/2020 was registered under Sections 124A, 153A, 153B and 505(2) I.P.C

While granting him bail, the Bench of Justice Saumitra Dayal Singh noted, “Neither he called anyone to bear arms nor any violence was incited as a result of the speech delivered by him.”

The same year, Imam had also filed a bail application in connection with FIR No. 22/2020 (with respect to the speeches made by him in Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia area in Delhi) before the Delhi Court. FIR 22/2020 was registered by the Delhi Police under sec. 124A, 153A, 505 of the Indian Penal Code along with sec. 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), which was added later. However, the said regular bail plea was dismissed by Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat on January 24, 2022.

On April 28, 2022, Sharjeel Imam moved the Delhi High Court challenging a trial court order which had dismissed the bail plea in connection with FIR No. 59/2020 (a case alleging larger conspiracy into the Delhi riots of 2020) involving charges under Indian Penal Code and UAPA. However, on May 6, a division bench comprising Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar further adjourned hearings listing the matter to be heard on May 26. The Bench had adjourned the matter on the grounds that it would be appropriate to await the outcome of the Supreme Court regarding the challenge to the constitutional validity of the offence of ‘Sedition’ under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code before continuing with the present appeals.

During this hearing, the Court had decided to hear another challenge made by Imam seeking bail in connection with FIR 22/2020, a case relating to the alleged inflammatory speeches made by him at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and Jamia area in Delhi against the Citizen Amendment Act (CAA).

During the course of the hearing, Advocate Tanveer Ahmed Mir appearing for Sharjeel Imam, relied on an order passed by the Allahabad HC granting bail in a case concerning one of the speeches forming part of the FIR in question. Accordingly, Justice Mridul reportedly said, “If you're saying that order passed by Allahabad HC granting you bail, if you're pressing that, and you say it covers the present appeal, then you have to show us how and what were the allegations in the FIR?”

On May 26, after directing Imam to approach the lower court to seek interim bail in connection with the sedition case registered under FIR no. 22/2020, the Court listed the pending appeals challenging the order denying Imam bail as well as framing charges against him in the matter on August 26, reported LiveLaw.

There are three more FIRs registered against Imam:

State

FIR No.

Offences

Assam

01/2020

121(A), 124(A), 153(A), 153(B) IPC and S.13(1), 15(a)(iii), 18 UAPA

Manipur

16(1)/2020

121, 121(A), 124(A), 120B, 153(A) IPC

Arunachal Pradesh

02/2020

124A, 153A, 153B IPC

Related:

Delhi HC asks Sharjeel Imam to approach Trial Court to seek interim bail in seditious speeches case
Speech in bad taste, not a terrorist act: Delhi HC On Umar Khalid’s Amravati Speech

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Viral video shows UP Police physically abusing eight men in custody

Assault hailed as "return gift" by local right-wing leader; the court had released the men due to lack of evidence of involvement in anti-Nupur Sharma protest violence

05 Jul 2022

protestor

A shocking viral video reveals how eight men were brutally assaulted by the Uttar Pradesh police in custody. Incidentally, these were the same men who were released by a local court in Saharanpur due to lack of evidence!

The eight men walked out of the jail yesterday as the police told the local court that there is no evidence against them. The viral video was shared by BJP MLA Shalabh Mani Tripathi on twitter calling it a “return gift for rioters”. Superintendent of Police (City) Rajesh Kumar reportedly stated, “An inquiry is still underway” as the police ordered an inquiry into the video soon after NDTV broke the story.

In the said video, men can be seen begging and trying to block the blows inflicted upon them by two policemen. As reported by NDTV, the the video was shot two days ago in a police station in Saharanpur, where protests and clashes erupted after Friday prayers over the controversial remarks against Prophet Muhammad by two former BJP spokespersons.

Responding to questions about the video, senior police officer Prashant Kumar told NDTV, "We don't subscribe to such things. We are investigating. And in case these things are true then we will take action against the erring police officers, We are examining it (the video)... it is a serious thing. We are aware of our responsibility."

The video maybe viewed here:

 

 


The men had been picked up on charges of causing violence during the protests that took place in Saharanpur after Nupur Sharma, the now suspended spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made derogatory statements about Prophet Mohammed during a television news debate. However, the CCTV footage submitted by the families of the accused revealed that they were not present at the site of violence on June 10. As a result, the police approached the court and submitted that they have no evidence against them.

Babar Waseem, the lawyer representing the case reportedly said, “Can you imagine that police thrashed these people so badly even when they had no proof against them? The cops have not listened to any of them even when they kept pleading not guilty and not having any role in the violence.”

Shabana Ali, mother of 19-year old Mohd Kaif who was also released by the court reportedly claimed that her son was thrashed by a policeman with a stick inside a police station. She added, “My son received fractures in his hand as a result of it. My son is in trauma and is hardly talking. He spent so many days in jail for something he had never done. They had also arrested my brother-in-law Mohd Furkan and his son Abdul Samad. We have faced so much trauma and social boycott.”

She told the Indian Express, “After offering prayers at a local mosque, my son went to his sister’s house at Nadeem colony, which is far from the spot where the violence took place. To prove my claim, I submitted footage of CCTV cameras installed at places where Ali was present when the protests took place. The CCTV footage was collected from the houses of residents of the area. My son got released from jail this morning.”

The police have arrested 85 people in Saharanpur so far, including the eight persons who are now released, and filed three FIRS in connection with the June 10 violence.

On June 10 afternoon, huge protests by Muslims broke out in at least 16 cities of India. This included the national capital Delhi, along with Srinagar, Lucknow, Prayagraj (Allahabad), Sahranpur, Firozabad, Hyderabad, Ranchi, Kolkata-Howrah and Panvel among others. Protesters called for Sharma’s arrest after she made derogatory remarks about Prophet Mohammad and Islam during a Times Now debate on May 26.

While some protests ended peacefully with people dispersing within half an hour of the demonstration, many places in Uttar Pradesh and other states reported conflict between the police and protesters. While some areas reported stray incidents of stone-pelting by the people, other areas said the police resorted to lathi-charge and tear gassing.


Related:

Friday protests: At least 325 arrests in UP alone!
Spontaneous pan-India protests against Nupur Sharma
Indians stand united, don't allow Hate to prevail over Harmony
Saharanpur: Who were the ‘media men’ whose questions created tension during Friday prayers?

Saharanpur court orders release of eight protesters due to lack of evidence

 

Viral video shows UP Police physically abusing eight men in custody

Assault hailed as "return gift" by local right-wing leader; the court had released the men due to lack of evidence of involvement in anti-Nupur Sharma protest violence

protestor

A shocking viral video reveals how eight men were brutally assaulted by the Uttar Pradesh police in custody. Incidentally, these were the same men who were released by a local court in Saharanpur due to lack of evidence!

The eight men walked out of the jail yesterday as the police told the local court that there is no evidence against them. The viral video was shared by BJP MLA Shalabh Mani Tripathi on twitter calling it a “return gift for rioters”. Superintendent of Police (City) Rajesh Kumar reportedly stated, “An inquiry is still underway” as the police ordered an inquiry into the video soon after NDTV broke the story.

In the said video, men can be seen begging and trying to block the blows inflicted upon them by two policemen. As reported by NDTV, the the video was shot two days ago in a police station in Saharanpur, where protests and clashes erupted after Friday prayers over the controversial remarks against Prophet Muhammad by two former BJP spokespersons.

Responding to questions about the video, senior police officer Prashant Kumar told NDTV, "We don't subscribe to such things. We are investigating. And in case these things are true then we will take action against the erring police officers, We are examining it (the video)... it is a serious thing. We are aware of our responsibility."

The video maybe viewed here:

 

 


The men had been picked up on charges of causing violence during the protests that took place in Saharanpur after Nupur Sharma, the now suspended spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made derogatory statements about Prophet Mohammed during a television news debate. However, the CCTV footage submitted by the families of the accused revealed that they were not present at the site of violence on June 10. As a result, the police approached the court and submitted that they have no evidence against them.

Babar Waseem, the lawyer representing the case reportedly said, “Can you imagine that police thrashed these people so badly even when they had no proof against them? The cops have not listened to any of them even when they kept pleading not guilty and not having any role in the violence.”

Shabana Ali, mother of 19-year old Mohd Kaif who was also released by the court reportedly claimed that her son was thrashed by a policeman with a stick inside a police station. She added, “My son received fractures in his hand as a result of it. My son is in trauma and is hardly talking. He spent so many days in jail for something he had never done. They had also arrested my brother-in-law Mohd Furkan and his son Abdul Samad. We have faced so much trauma and social boycott.”

She told the Indian Express, “After offering prayers at a local mosque, my son went to his sister’s house at Nadeem colony, which is far from the spot where the violence took place. To prove my claim, I submitted footage of CCTV cameras installed at places where Ali was present when the protests took place. The CCTV footage was collected from the houses of residents of the area. My son got released from jail this morning.”

The police have arrested 85 people in Saharanpur so far, including the eight persons who are now released, and filed three FIRS in connection with the June 10 violence.

On June 10 afternoon, huge protests by Muslims broke out in at least 16 cities of India. This included the national capital Delhi, along with Srinagar, Lucknow, Prayagraj (Allahabad), Sahranpur, Firozabad, Hyderabad, Ranchi, Kolkata-Howrah and Panvel among others. Protesters called for Sharma’s arrest after she made derogatory remarks about Prophet Mohammad and Islam during a Times Now debate on May 26.

While some protests ended peacefully with people dispersing within half an hour of the demonstration, many places in Uttar Pradesh and other states reported conflict between the police and protesters. While some areas reported stray incidents of stone-pelting by the people, other areas said the police resorted to lathi-charge and tear gassing.


Related:

Friday protests: At least 325 arrests in UP alone!
Spontaneous pan-India protests against Nupur Sharma
Indians stand united, don't allow Hate to prevail over Harmony
Saharanpur: Who were the ‘media men’ whose questions created tension during Friday prayers?

Saharanpur court orders release of eight protesters due to lack of evidence

 

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Gyanvapi Case: Mosque management committee makes submissions

Case pertaining to maintainability of the suit as per Order 7 Rule 11 of CPC, adjourned to July 12

05 Jul 2022

Gyanvapi

On July 4, the court of Varanasi district judge Ajay Krishna Vishvesha resumed hearing arguments pertaining to Order 7 Rule 11 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) with respect to the maintainability of the law suit against the Gyanvapi mosque.

The Anjuman Intezamia Masjid (AIM), that is the mosque management committee and the defendant in this case had argued against the maintainability of the suit given provisions of Order 7 Rule 11 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC), and sought that the plea filed by the Hindu women petitioners be rejected.

“This case cannot go on. The matter has been settled when it comes to religious structures from before 1947. Moreover, the Masjid is Waqf property,” said S M Yasin, general secretary of AIM.

The matter has now been adjourned till July 12.

Brief background of the case

The suit was originally filed in August 2021, by a few Hindu women before the Civil Court (Senior Division), demanding that the Maa Shringar Gauri Temple located on the premises of the Gyanvapi mosque be reopened, and people be allowed to offer prayers before the idols that are still kept there. The petitioners cited the right to practice one’s faith and religious freedom guaranteed by Article 25 of the Constitution.

Following this a video survey of the area was ordered and the survey was carried out despite objections raised by the mosque management authority. After the Allahabad High Court denied their appeal against the survey, the AIM moved SC where it highlighted how the Places of Worship Act, 1991, prohibits changing the character of a place of worship from what it was on August 15, 1947. Thus, AIM said that the suit was not maintainable as per Order 7, Rule 11 (d) of the CPC.

Video Survey and “Shivling” controversy

The Advocate Commissioners in charge of the survey submitted their findings in a survey report, as well as the data card containing videos and images to the court of Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar, who had originally ordered the survey. Even before the survey report was submitted, lawyers of the Hindu petitioners claimed that a “Shivling” had been discovered in the Wazu Khana (ablution tank) of the mosque, and the lower court ordered it sealed. The AIM appealed against this order that was passed even as the SC was hearing AIM’s plea against the maintainability of the suit.

The Supreme Court then permitted the place to be sealed but ordered that this should not cause any inconvenience to Muslims to access the mosque and offer prayers. The SC then transferred the case to the court of a more experienced District Judge to decide upon the maintainability of the suit given Order 7, Rule 11.

At this point, the Hindu petitioners also moved a plea before the District Judge for permission to offer prayers at a spot where a “Shivling” was allegedly discovered. This despite the fact that the findings of the video survey had still not been made public officially, and no competent authority has confirmed that the structure is indeed a “Shivling”. The AIM says that it is a portion of an old defunct fountain. In fact, not one but two Mahants of the Kashi Vishwanath temple have also debunked “Shivling” claims and said that just about any stone sculpture cannot be labelled a “Shivling”. Additionally, the Hindu Sena has also filed an application before the Varanasi District Judge to be made party to the suit. They have also demanded that the Gyanvapi site be handed over to Hindus for worship.

On June 8, 2022, the Varanasi district court rejected the plea filed by Swami Avimukteshwaranand seeking permission to offer prayers to the structure found inside the Gyanvapi mosque complex which has been claimed to be a ‘Shivling’ as per the survey report of the ordered by the Court. After hearing the matter, the district judge Ajay Krishna Vishwesha rejected the application reportedly stating, “The application presented by the applicant does not appear to be of urgent nature. The application submitted by the applicant for grant of permission to present the suit in summer vacation is rejected.”

Meanwhile, three more parties - Lord Vishweshara (through next friend) Hindu Sena, Brahmin Sabha, and Nirmohi Akhara, have also approached the court seeking impleadment in the suit as plaintiffs. Also, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind moved the Supreme Court seeking to become a party in the PIL challenging the constitutional validity of provisions of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 which froze the religious character of structures as it was at the time of independence.

Some Hindu parties and petitioners have also demanded an investigation into how elements of the survey were leaked to the media. It is noteworthy that at the time of the leak, only the Hindu petitioners had been handed the copies of the survey report. SabrangIndia had reported previously that the report was handed in sealed envelopes to the plaintiffs Laxmi Devi, Sita Sahu, Manju Vyas and Rekha Pathak who also gave an affidavit stating they will not make the findings public and paid a fee of Rs 2,100 each. But shortly after the survey report was given to them, copies of it also found their way to multiple media outlets that started showing videos and images purportedly taken at the survey. Lawyers representing AIM could not be given copies of the survey report or CDs containing videos and images. The Times of India had on that day quoted AIM’s lawyer advocate Abhay Nath Yadav as saying, “The formalities of furnishing an undertaking as per the court directive could not be completed on Monday. We will soon complete the formalities submitting an affidavit and deposit the prescribed fee to receive the CDs from court.”

Therefore, it is clear that the mosque authorities were not responsible for the leak.

Current hearings on maintainability of suit

SabrangIndia had reported previously how the hearings at the Varanasi district court had started in May, after the Supreme Court had transferred the case from the court of Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar, to the present district court of Judge Visvesha.

In related developments, the Varanasi district court on June 27, rejected a plea by the Vishwa Vaidik Sanatan Sangh (VVSS), that demanded that a First Information Report (FIR) be filed against AIM. The petitioner feared that symbols related to Hinduism were being destroyed by the mosque committee. SabrangIndia had reported previously how VVSS, led by Jitendra Singh ‘Visen’ alleges that the AIM has damaged the basic structure of the Lord Visheshwar temple located on the mosque premises, and demanded that the FIR be filed as per provisions of the Places of Worship Act. VVSS had first moved the court of the special chief judicial magistrate, but it rejected this petition.

On June 14, VVSS moved the district court, and was heard on June 23. The AIM submitted that the case related to the main matter was already being heard by the court and therefore the petition for filing an FIR should not be entertained. On June 23, the court reserved its order pertaining to filing of FIR against AIM, and on June 27, the court dismissed the plea.

According to a Times of India report, the judge in his order observed that the petitioner had not explicitly mentioned any fact on the basis of which cognizable offence appears to have been committed, and upheld the lower court’s decision to dismiss the petition.

Related:

Gyanvapi case: Varanasi district court to start hearings pertaining to Order 7 Rule 11

Gyanvapi case: Varanasi court reserves order on admitting petition pertaining to FIR against AIM

Gyanvapi case: Plea demanding FIR against mosque authorities to be heard on June 23

Gyanvapi case: VVSS demands FIR against mosque authorities

Gyanvapi Case: Varanasi Court rejects plea seeking permission to worship alleged ‘Shivling’ inside the mosque

 

Gyanvapi Case: Mosque management committee makes submissions

Case pertaining to maintainability of the suit as per Order 7 Rule 11 of CPC, adjourned to July 12

Gyanvapi

On July 4, the court of Varanasi district judge Ajay Krishna Vishvesha resumed hearing arguments pertaining to Order 7 Rule 11 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) with respect to the maintainability of the law suit against the Gyanvapi mosque.

The Anjuman Intezamia Masjid (AIM), that is the mosque management committee and the defendant in this case had argued against the maintainability of the suit given provisions of Order 7 Rule 11 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC), and sought that the plea filed by the Hindu women petitioners be rejected.

“This case cannot go on. The matter has been settled when it comes to religious structures from before 1947. Moreover, the Masjid is Waqf property,” said S M Yasin, general secretary of AIM.

The matter has now been adjourned till July 12.

Brief background of the case

The suit was originally filed in August 2021, by a few Hindu women before the Civil Court (Senior Division), demanding that the Maa Shringar Gauri Temple located on the premises of the Gyanvapi mosque be reopened, and people be allowed to offer prayers before the idols that are still kept there. The petitioners cited the right to practice one’s faith and religious freedom guaranteed by Article 25 of the Constitution.

Following this a video survey of the area was ordered and the survey was carried out despite objections raised by the mosque management authority. After the Allahabad High Court denied their appeal against the survey, the AIM moved SC where it highlighted how the Places of Worship Act, 1991, prohibits changing the character of a place of worship from what it was on August 15, 1947. Thus, AIM said that the suit was not maintainable as per Order 7, Rule 11 (d) of the CPC.

Video Survey and “Shivling” controversy

The Advocate Commissioners in charge of the survey submitted their findings in a survey report, as well as the data card containing videos and images to the court of Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar, who had originally ordered the survey. Even before the survey report was submitted, lawyers of the Hindu petitioners claimed that a “Shivling” had been discovered in the Wazu Khana (ablution tank) of the mosque, and the lower court ordered it sealed. The AIM appealed against this order that was passed even as the SC was hearing AIM’s plea against the maintainability of the suit.

The Supreme Court then permitted the place to be sealed but ordered that this should not cause any inconvenience to Muslims to access the mosque and offer prayers. The SC then transferred the case to the court of a more experienced District Judge to decide upon the maintainability of the suit given Order 7, Rule 11.

At this point, the Hindu petitioners also moved a plea before the District Judge for permission to offer prayers at a spot where a “Shivling” was allegedly discovered. This despite the fact that the findings of the video survey had still not been made public officially, and no competent authority has confirmed that the structure is indeed a “Shivling”. The AIM says that it is a portion of an old defunct fountain. In fact, not one but two Mahants of the Kashi Vishwanath temple have also debunked “Shivling” claims and said that just about any stone sculpture cannot be labelled a “Shivling”. Additionally, the Hindu Sena has also filed an application before the Varanasi District Judge to be made party to the suit. They have also demanded that the Gyanvapi site be handed over to Hindus for worship.

On June 8, 2022, the Varanasi district court rejected the plea filed by Swami Avimukteshwaranand seeking permission to offer prayers to the structure found inside the Gyanvapi mosque complex which has been claimed to be a ‘Shivling’ as per the survey report of the ordered by the Court. After hearing the matter, the district judge Ajay Krishna Vishwesha rejected the application reportedly stating, “The application presented by the applicant does not appear to be of urgent nature. The application submitted by the applicant for grant of permission to present the suit in summer vacation is rejected.”

Meanwhile, three more parties - Lord Vishweshara (through next friend) Hindu Sena, Brahmin Sabha, and Nirmohi Akhara, have also approached the court seeking impleadment in the suit as plaintiffs. Also, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind moved the Supreme Court seeking to become a party in the PIL challenging the constitutional validity of provisions of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 which froze the religious character of structures as it was at the time of independence.

Some Hindu parties and petitioners have also demanded an investigation into how elements of the survey were leaked to the media. It is noteworthy that at the time of the leak, only the Hindu petitioners had been handed the copies of the survey report. SabrangIndia had reported previously that the report was handed in sealed envelopes to the plaintiffs Laxmi Devi, Sita Sahu, Manju Vyas and Rekha Pathak who also gave an affidavit stating they will not make the findings public and paid a fee of Rs 2,100 each. But shortly after the survey report was given to them, copies of it also found their way to multiple media outlets that started showing videos and images purportedly taken at the survey. Lawyers representing AIM could not be given copies of the survey report or CDs containing videos and images. The Times of India had on that day quoted AIM’s lawyer advocate Abhay Nath Yadav as saying, “The formalities of furnishing an undertaking as per the court directive could not be completed on Monday. We will soon complete the formalities submitting an affidavit and deposit the prescribed fee to receive the CDs from court.”

Therefore, it is clear that the mosque authorities were not responsible for the leak.

Current hearings on maintainability of suit

SabrangIndia had reported previously how the hearings at the Varanasi district court had started in May, after the Supreme Court had transferred the case from the court of Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar, to the present district court of Judge Visvesha.

In related developments, the Varanasi district court on June 27, rejected a plea by the Vishwa Vaidik Sanatan Sangh (VVSS), that demanded that a First Information Report (FIR) be filed against AIM. The petitioner feared that symbols related to Hinduism were being destroyed by the mosque committee. SabrangIndia had reported previously how VVSS, led by Jitendra Singh ‘Visen’ alleges that the AIM has damaged the basic structure of the Lord Visheshwar temple located on the mosque premises, and demanded that the FIR be filed as per provisions of the Places of Worship Act. VVSS had first moved the court of the special chief judicial magistrate, but it rejected this petition.

On June 14, VVSS moved the district court, and was heard on June 23. The AIM submitted that the case related to the main matter was already being heard by the court and therefore the petition for filing an FIR should not be entertained. On June 23, the court reserved its order pertaining to filing of FIR against AIM, and on June 27, the court dismissed the plea.

According to a Times of India report, the judge in his order observed that the petitioner had not explicitly mentioned any fact on the basis of which cognizable offence appears to have been committed, and upheld the lower court’s decision to dismiss the petition.

Related:

Gyanvapi case: Varanasi district court to start hearings pertaining to Order 7 Rule 11

Gyanvapi case: Varanasi court reserves order on admitting petition pertaining to FIR against AIM

Gyanvapi case: Plea demanding FIR against mosque authorities to be heard on June 23

Gyanvapi case: VVSS demands FIR against mosque authorities

Gyanvapi Case: Varanasi Court rejects plea seeking permission to worship alleged ‘Shivling’ inside the mosque

 

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Saharanpur court orders release of eight protesters due to lack of evidence

CCTV footage reveals they were not present at the location of the anti-Nupur Sharma protest

04 Jul 2022

Saharanpur CourtImage Courtesy: msn.com

A local court in Saharanpur has ordered the release of eight persons, who were arrested for engaging in violence on June 10, during a protest against the remarks made by Nupur Sharma about Prophet Mohammed. The court ordered their release after police found no evidence against them, reported the Indian Express.

The CCTV footage submitted by the families of the accused revealed that they were not present at the site of violence on June 10. As a result, the police approached the court and submitted that they have no evidence against them.

Additional Superintendent of Police (Saharanpur) Rajesh Kumar reportedly stated, “We asked the investigating officer (IO) of the case to verify the claims made by the families of the eight accused. The IO examined the videos and photographs of the violence and found they were not present in any of them. We then moved an application in court under the section 169 of the CrPC (seeks release of accused when evidence is deficient). The court then ordered their release."

Station House Officer (City Kotwali) Ashok Solanki reportedly stated, “During probe, it was found they (the eight accused) were not present at the spot when the violence took place. Since their innocence was proved, we requested the court on Saturday to release them.”

The mother of one of the eight accused persons (19 year old- Mohammad Ali) told the Indian Express, “After offering prayers at a local mosque, my son went to his sister’s house at Nadeem colony, which is far from the spot where the violence took place. To prove my claim, I submitted footage of CCTV cameras installed at places where Ali was present when the protests took place. The CCTV footage was collected from the houses of residents of the area. My son got released from jail this morning.” She reportedly claimed that her son was thrashed by a policeman with a stick inside a police station. She further added, “My son received fractures in his hand as a result of it.”

It has been reported that the police have arrested 85 people in Saharanpur so far, including the eight persons who are now released, and filed three FIRS in connection with the June 10 violence.

Related:

Friday protests: At least 325 arrests in UP alone!
Spontaneous pan-India protests against Nupur Sharma
Indians stand united, don't allow Hate to prevail over Harmony
Saharanpur: Who were the ‘media men’ whose questions created tension during Friday prayers?

Saharanpur court orders release of eight protesters due to lack of evidence

CCTV footage reveals they were not present at the location of the anti-Nupur Sharma protest

Saharanpur CourtImage Courtesy: msn.com

A local court in Saharanpur has ordered the release of eight persons, who were arrested for engaging in violence on June 10, during a protest against the remarks made by Nupur Sharma about Prophet Mohammed. The court ordered their release after police found no evidence against them, reported the Indian Express.

The CCTV footage submitted by the families of the accused revealed that they were not present at the site of violence on June 10. As a result, the police approached the court and submitted that they have no evidence against them.

Additional Superintendent of Police (Saharanpur) Rajesh Kumar reportedly stated, “We asked the investigating officer (IO) of the case to verify the claims made by the families of the eight accused. The IO examined the videos and photographs of the violence and found they were not present in any of them. We then moved an application in court under the section 169 of the CrPC (seeks release of accused when evidence is deficient). The court then ordered their release."

Station House Officer (City Kotwali) Ashok Solanki reportedly stated, “During probe, it was found they (the eight accused) were not present at the spot when the violence took place. Since their innocence was proved, we requested the court on Saturday to release them.”

The mother of one of the eight accused persons (19 year old- Mohammad Ali) told the Indian Express, “After offering prayers at a local mosque, my son went to his sister’s house at Nadeem colony, which is far from the spot where the violence took place. To prove my claim, I submitted footage of CCTV cameras installed at places where Ali was present when the protests took place. The CCTV footage was collected from the houses of residents of the area. My son got released from jail this morning.” She reportedly claimed that her son was thrashed by a policeman with a stick inside a police station. She further added, “My son received fractures in his hand as a result of it.”

It has been reported that the police have arrested 85 people in Saharanpur so far, including the eight persons who are now released, and filed three FIRS in connection with the June 10 violence.

Related:

Friday protests: At least 325 arrests in UP alone!
Spontaneous pan-India protests against Nupur Sharma
Indians stand united, don't allow Hate to prevail over Harmony
Saharanpur: Who were the ‘media men’ whose questions created tension during Friday prayers?

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Justice Pardiwala raises concerns over personal attacks on judges via social media

The Supreme Court judge faced criticism from sundry right-wing trolls after he and Justice Surya Kant made oral observations about Nupur Sharma's role in sparking communal violence

04 Jul 2022

Social Media CommentImage Courtesy: scroll.in

At the Second Justice H.R. Khanna Memorial National Symposium, Justice Pardiwala, a sitting judge of the Supreme Court of India, raised concerns about how social media platforms were used to launch a personal attack against judges in wake of the court's scathing criticism of Nupur Sharma.

Readers would recall that on July 1, the vacation bench of Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala rebuked Nupur Sharma while dismissing her petition to club FIRs against her in different states with the one in Delhi over her remarks on the Prophet Muhammed. The court had made verbal observations about the role of the now suspended spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in inciting communal violence due to her objectionable remarks made during a television news debate.

The bench came down heavily on Nupur Sharma for making “disturbing” and derogatory remarks against Prophet Mohammed and igniting communal rift in the country. The bench reportedly held that she has a “loose tongue” and held her single-handedly responsible for what is happening in the country” including the brutal murder in Udaipur where a tailor beheaded for allegedly supporting and sharing her remarks.

Now, Justice Pardhiwala has taken umbrage at how personal attacks were made against the judges on social media.

He reportedly said, “Personal attacks on judges for their judgments lead to a dangerous scenario where the judges have to think about what media thinks instead of what the law really thinks. This harms the rule of law.”

As per The Hindu, the judge reportedly said, “Social and digital media was primarily resorted to expressing personalised opinions more against the judges, rather than a constructive critical appraisal of their judgments. ” He said this tendency was “harming the judicial institution and lowering its dignity. In India which cannot be defined as a completely mature or defined democracy, social media is employed frequently to politicise purely legal and constitutional issues.”

In his address at the function, Justice Pardiwala further reportedly stated, “The remedy of judgments does not lie with social media but with higher courts in the hierarchy. Judges never speak through their tongue, only through their judgments. In the modern-day context, trials by digital media are an undue interference in process of justice dispensation and cross that Lakshman Rekha many a times.”

NDTV quoted him citing the Ayodhya case as an example, and saying, “It was a land and title dispute but by the time the final verdict came to be delivered, the issue attained political overtones. It was conveniently forgotten that someday or the other some judge had to decide the contentious civil dispute which was indisputably the oldest litigation pending in the court of the country running into thousands of pages. This is where the heart of any judicial proceeding before the constitutional court may disappear and the judges deciding the dispute may get a bit shaken, which is antithetic to the rule of law. This is not healthy for the rule of law.”

Hate speech, malicious, vicious, fallacious, incendiary, derogatory; these problematic terms are not new to Indians as we are good at finding absolute freedom in social media virtual spaces. When it comes to religious freedom, we find social media as a platform to eagerly share our thoughts which may or may not hurt others’ spiritual view point.

In 2021, the IT Ministry came up with a new set of rules that strictly monitor ‘offensive’ content on social media, and such social media companies have been told to disclose the first or originator of a ‘mischievous’ message or tweet. This raises questions on end-to-end encryption and subsequently privacy.

The Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, had laid down the mechanism of self-regulating bodies that shall be headed by a “retired judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court, who shall be appointed from a panel prepared by the Ministry.”

The Rules require social media platforms to exercise due diligence in terms of any content that is “defamatory, obscene, pornographic, paedophilic, invasive of another’s privacy, including bodily privacy, insulting or harassing on the basis of gender, libellous, racially or ethnically objectionable, relating or encouraging money laundering or gambling, or otherwise inconsistent with or contrary to the laws of India” [Rule 3(1)(b)].

3. (1) Due diligence by an intermediary: An intermediary, including social media intermediary and significant social media intermediary, shall observe the following due diligence while discharging its duties, namely:—

(b) the rules and regulations, privacy policy or user agreement of the intermediary shall inform the user of its computer resource not to host, display, upload, modify, publish, transmit, store, update or share any information that,—

(viii) threatens the unity, integrity, defence, security or sovereignty of India, friendly relations with foreign States, or public order, or causes incitement to the commission of any cognisable offence or prevents investigation of any offence or is insulting other nation;

In addition to the due diligence observed under rule 3, a significant social media intermediary shall also appoint, under rule 4, a Chief Compliance officer who shall be responsible for ensuring compliance; a nodal contact person for 24x7 coordination with law enforcement agencies and officers; appoint a Resident Grievance Officer; publish periodic compliance report every month.

The concerned Regulatory body would have to register with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and it is tasked to oversee the adherence by the publisher to the Code of Ethics, and address grievances that have not been resolved by the publisher within 15 days. The body had been mandated to provide guidance to all such social media and OTT platform entities on various aspects of the Code of Ethics.

As per the rules, a self-regulating body while disposing a grievance or an appeal would have to issue guidance or advisories to the applicable publisher/entities as under:

(a) warning, censuring, admonishing or reprimanding such entity;

(b) requiring an apology by such entity; or

(c) requiring such entity to include a warning card or a disclaimer; or

(d) in case of online curated content, direct such entity to (i) reclassify ratings of relevant content; (ii) make appropriate modification in the content descriptor, age classification and access control measures; (iii) edit synopsis of relevant content;

Related:

Muslim women threatened with sexual assault: How does the law defend them?
The wide terms of the IT Rules 2021 have a chilling effect on freedom of speech: Bom HC
Social media platforms finally compel extremist groups to shun hate speech, fake news

Justice Pardiwala raises concerns over personal attacks on judges via social media

The Supreme Court judge faced criticism from sundry right-wing trolls after he and Justice Surya Kant made oral observations about Nupur Sharma's role in sparking communal violence

Social Media CommentImage Courtesy: scroll.in

At the Second Justice H.R. Khanna Memorial National Symposium, Justice Pardiwala, a sitting judge of the Supreme Court of India, raised concerns about how social media platforms were used to launch a personal attack against judges in wake of the court's scathing criticism of Nupur Sharma.

Readers would recall that on July 1, the vacation bench of Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala rebuked Nupur Sharma while dismissing her petition to club FIRs against her in different states with the one in Delhi over her remarks on the Prophet Muhammed. The court had made verbal observations about the role of the now suspended spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in inciting communal violence due to her objectionable remarks made during a television news debate.

The bench came down heavily on Nupur Sharma for making “disturbing” and derogatory remarks against Prophet Mohammed and igniting communal rift in the country. The bench reportedly held that she has a “loose tongue” and held her single-handedly responsible for what is happening in the country” including the brutal murder in Udaipur where a tailor beheaded for allegedly supporting and sharing her remarks.

Now, Justice Pardhiwala has taken umbrage at how personal attacks were made against the judges on social media.

He reportedly said, “Personal attacks on judges for their judgments lead to a dangerous scenario where the judges have to think about what media thinks instead of what the law really thinks. This harms the rule of law.”

As per The Hindu, the judge reportedly said, “Social and digital media was primarily resorted to expressing personalised opinions more against the judges, rather than a constructive critical appraisal of their judgments. ” He said this tendency was “harming the judicial institution and lowering its dignity. In India which cannot be defined as a completely mature or defined democracy, social media is employed frequently to politicise purely legal and constitutional issues.”

In his address at the function, Justice Pardiwala further reportedly stated, “The remedy of judgments does not lie with social media but with higher courts in the hierarchy. Judges never speak through their tongue, only through their judgments. In the modern-day context, trials by digital media are an undue interference in process of justice dispensation and cross that Lakshman Rekha many a times.”

NDTV quoted him citing the Ayodhya case as an example, and saying, “It was a land and title dispute but by the time the final verdict came to be delivered, the issue attained political overtones. It was conveniently forgotten that someday or the other some judge had to decide the contentious civil dispute which was indisputably the oldest litigation pending in the court of the country running into thousands of pages. This is where the heart of any judicial proceeding before the constitutional court may disappear and the judges deciding the dispute may get a bit shaken, which is antithetic to the rule of law. This is not healthy for the rule of law.”

Hate speech, malicious, vicious, fallacious, incendiary, derogatory; these problematic terms are not new to Indians as we are good at finding absolute freedom in social media virtual spaces. When it comes to religious freedom, we find social media as a platform to eagerly share our thoughts which may or may not hurt others’ spiritual view point.

In 2021, the IT Ministry came up with a new set of rules that strictly monitor ‘offensive’ content on social media, and such social media companies have been told to disclose the first or originator of a ‘mischievous’ message or tweet. This raises questions on end-to-end encryption and subsequently privacy.

The Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, had laid down the mechanism of self-regulating bodies that shall be headed by a “retired judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court, who shall be appointed from a panel prepared by the Ministry.”

The Rules require social media platforms to exercise due diligence in terms of any content that is “defamatory, obscene, pornographic, paedophilic, invasive of another’s privacy, including bodily privacy, insulting or harassing on the basis of gender, libellous, racially or ethnically objectionable, relating or encouraging money laundering or gambling, or otherwise inconsistent with or contrary to the laws of India” [Rule 3(1)(b)].

3. (1) Due diligence by an intermediary: An intermediary, including social media intermediary and significant social media intermediary, shall observe the following due diligence while discharging its duties, namely:—

(b) the rules and regulations, privacy policy or user agreement of the intermediary shall inform the user of its computer resource not to host, display, upload, modify, publish, transmit, store, update or share any information that,—

(viii) threatens the unity, integrity, defence, security or sovereignty of India, friendly relations with foreign States, or public order, or causes incitement to the commission of any cognisable offence or prevents investigation of any offence or is insulting other nation;

In addition to the due diligence observed under rule 3, a significant social media intermediary shall also appoint, under rule 4, a Chief Compliance officer who shall be responsible for ensuring compliance; a nodal contact person for 24x7 coordination with law enforcement agencies and officers; appoint a Resident Grievance Officer; publish periodic compliance report every month.

The concerned Regulatory body would have to register with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and it is tasked to oversee the adherence by the publisher to the Code of Ethics, and address grievances that have not been resolved by the publisher within 15 days. The body had been mandated to provide guidance to all such social media and OTT platform entities on various aspects of the Code of Ethics.

As per the rules, a self-regulating body while disposing a grievance or an appeal would have to issue guidance or advisories to the applicable publisher/entities as under:

(a) warning, censuring, admonishing or reprimanding such entity;

(b) requiring an apology by such entity; or

(c) requiring such entity to include a warning card or a disclaimer; or

(d) in case of online curated content, direct such entity to (i) reclassify ratings of relevant content; (ii) make appropriate modification in the content descriptor, age classification and access control measures; (iii) edit synopsis of relevant content;

Related:

Muslim women threatened with sexual assault: How does the law defend them?
The wide terms of the IT Rules 2021 have a chilling effect on freedom of speech: Bom HC
Social media platforms finally compel extremist groups to shun hate speech, fake news

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Gyanvapi case: Varanasi district court to start hearings pertaining to Order 7 Rule 11

Court had previously dismissed plea for FIR against mosque management committee

04 Jul 2022

Varanasi court

On July 4, the court of Varanasi district judge Ajay Krishna Vishvesha will start hearing arguments pertaining to Order 7 Rule 11 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) with respect to the maintainability of the law suit against the Gyanvapi mosque.

SabrangIndia had reported previously how the hearings had started on May 26, after the supreme court had transferred the case from the court of Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar, to the present district court of Judge Visvesha. The Anjuman Intezamia Masjid (AIM), that is the mosque management committee and the defendant in this case had argued against the maintainability of the suit given provisions of Order 7 Rule 11 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC), and sought that the plea filed by the Hindu women petitioners be rejected.

On Monday, May 30, the court adjourned hearings till July 4. AIM will continue presenting their arguments today.

What is Order 7 Rule 11

According to Order 7, Rule 11 of the CPC, a court can reject a plaint:

(a) where it does not disclose a cause of action;

(b) where the relief claimed is undervalued, and the plaintiff, on being required by the Court to correct the valuation within a time to be fixed by the Court, fails to do so;

(c) where the relief claimed is properly valued, but the plaint is returned upon paper insufficiently stamped, and the plaintiff, on being required by the Court to supply the requisite stamp-paper within a time to be fixed by the Court, fails to do so;

(d) where the suit appears from the statement in the plaint to be barred by any law.

The suit was originally filed in August 2021, by a few Hindu women before the Civil Court (Senior Division), demanding that the Maa Shringar Gauri Temple located on the premises of the Gyanvapi mosque be reopened, and people be allowed to offer prayers before the idols that are still kept there. The petitioners cited the right to practice one’s faith and religious freedom guaranteed by Article 25 of the Constitution.

Following this a video survey of the area was ordered and the survey was carried out despite objections raised by the mosque management authority. After the Allahabad High Court denied their appeal against the survey, the AIM moved SC where it highlighted how the Places of Worship Act, 1991, prohibits changing the character of a place of worship from what it was on August 15, 1947. Thus, AIM said that the suit was not maintainable as per Order 7, Rule 11 (d) of the CPC.

The “Shivling” controversy

The Advocate Commissioners in charge of the survey submitted their findings in a survey report, as well as the data card containing videos and images to the court of Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar, who had originally ordered the survey. Even before the survey report was submitted, lawyers of the Hindu petitioners claimed that a “Shivling” had been discovered in the Wazu Khana (ablution tank) of the mosque, and the lower court ordered it sealed. The AIM appealed against this order that was passed even as the SC was hearing AIM’s plea against the maintainability of the suit.

The Supreme Court then permitted the place to be sealed but ordered that this should not cause any inconvenience to Muslims to access the mosque and offer prayers. The SC then transferred the case to the court of a more experienced District Judge to decide upon the maintainability of the suit given Order 7, Rule 11.

At this point, the Hindu petitioners also moved a plea before the District Judge for permission to offer prayers at a spot where a “Shivling” was allegedly discovered. This despite the fact that the findings of the video survey had still not been made public officially, and no competent authority has confirmed that the structure is indeed a “Shivling”. The AIM says that it is a portion of an old defunct fountain. In fact, not one but two Mahants of the Kashi Vishwanath temple have also debunked “Shivling” claims and said that just about any stone sculpture cannot be labelled a “Shivling”. Additionally, the Hindu Sena has also filed an application before the Varanasi District Judge to be made party to the suit. They have also demanded that the Gyanvapi site be handed over to Hindus for worship.

On June 8, 2022, the Varanasi district court rejected the plea filed by Swami Avimukteshwaranand seeking permission to offer prayers to the structure found inside the Gyanvapi mosque complex which has been claimed to be a ‘Shivling’ as per the survey report of the ordered by the Court. After hearing the matter, the district judge Ajay Krishna Vishwesha rejected the application reportedly stating, “The application presented by the applicant does not appear to be of urgent nature. The application submitted by the applicant for grant of permission to present the suit in summer vacation is rejected.”

Meanwhile, three more parties - Lord Vishweshara (through next friend) Hindu Sena, Brahmin Sabha, and Nirmohi Akhara, have also approached the court seeking impleadment in the suit as plaintiffs. Also, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind moved the Supreme Court seeking to become a party in the PIL challenging the constitutional validity of provisions of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 which froze the religious character of structures as it was at the time of independence.

Plea for FIR against AIM dismissed

In related developments, the same court on June 27, rejected a plea by the Vishwa Vaidik Sanatan Sangh (VVSS), that demanded that a First Information Report (FIR) be filed against AIM. The petitioner feared that symbols related to Hinduism were being destroyed by the mosque committee. SabrangIndia had reported previously how VVSS, led by Jitendra Singh ‘Visen’ alleges that the AIM has damaged the basic structure of the Lord Visheshwar temple located on the mosque premises, and demanded that the FIR be filed as per provisions of the Places of Worship Act. VVSS had first moved the court of the special chief judicial magistrate, but it rejected this petition.

On June 14, VVSS moved the district court, and was heard on June 23. The AIM submitted that the case related to the main matter was already being heard by the court and therefore the petition for filing an FIR should not be entertained. On June 23, the court reserved its order pertaining to filing of FIR against AIM, and on June 27, the court dismissed the plea.

According to a Times of India report, the judge in his order observed that the petitioner had not explicitly mentioned any fact on the basis of which cognizable offence appears to have been committed, and upheld the lower court’s decision to dismiss the petition.

Related:

Gyanvapi case: Varanasi court reserves order on admitting petition pertaining to FIR against AIM
Gyanvapi case: Plea demanding FIR against mosque authorities to be heard on June 23
Gyanvapi case: VVSS demands FIR against mosque authorities
Gyanvapi Case: Varanasi Court rejects plea seeking permission to worship alleged ‘Shivling’ inside the mosque

Gyanvapi case: Varanasi district court to start hearings pertaining to Order 7 Rule 11

Court had previously dismissed plea for FIR against mosque management committee

Varanasi court

On July 4, the court of Varanasi district judge Ajay Krishna Vishvesha will start hearing arguments pertaining to Order 7 Rule 11 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) with respect to the maintainability of the law suit against the Gyanvapi mosque.

SabrangIndia had reported previously how the hearings had started on May 26, after the supreme court had transferred the case from the court of Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar, to the present district court of Judge Visvesha. The Anjuman Intezamia Masjid (AIM), that is the mosque management committee and the defendant in this case had argued against the maintainability of the suit given provisions of Order 7 Rule 11 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC), and sought that the plea filed by the Hindu women petitioners be rejected.

On Monday, May 30, the court adjourned hearings till July 4. AIM will continue presenting their arguments today.

What is Order 7 Rule 11

According to Order 7, Rule 11 of the CPC, a court can reject a plaint:

(a) where it does not disclose a cause of action;

(b) where the relief claimed is undervalued, and the plaintiff, on being required by the Court to correct the valuation within a time to be fixed by the Court, fails to do so;

(c) where the relief claimed is properly valued, but the plaint is returned upon paper insufficiently stamped, and the plaintiff, on being required by the Court to supply the requisite stamp-paper within a time to be fixed by the Court, fails to do so;

(d) where the suit appears from the statement in the plaint to be barred by any law.

The suit was originally filed in August 2021, by a few Hindu women before the Civil Court (Senior Division), demanding that the Maa Shringar Gauri Temple located on the premises of the Gyanvapi mosque be reopened, and people be allowed to offer prayers before the idols that are still kept there. The petitioners cited the right to practice one’s faith and religious freedom guaranteed by Article 25 of the Constitution.

Following this a video survey of the area was ordered and the survey was carried out despite objections raised by the mosque management authority. After the Allahabad High Court denied their appeal against the survey, the AIM moved SC where it highlighted how the Places of Worship Act, 1991, prohibits changing the character of a place of worship from what it was on August 15, 1947. Thus, AIM said that the suit was not maintainable as per Order 7, Rule 11 (d) of the CPC.

The “Shivling” controversy

The Advocate Commissioners in charge of the survey submitted their findings in a survey report, as well as the data card containing videos and images to the court of Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar, who had originally ordered the survey. Even before the survey report was submitted, lawyers of the Hindu petitioners claimed that a “Shivling” had been discovered in the Wazu Khana (ablution tank) of the mosque, and the lower court ordered it sealed. The AIM appealed against this order that was passed even as the SC was hearing AIM’s plea against the maintainability of the suit.

The Supreme Court then permitted the place to be sealed but ordered that this should not cause any inconvenience to Muslims to access the mosque and offer prayers. The SC then transferred the case to the court of a more experienced District Judge to decide upon the maintainability of the suit given Order 7, Rule 11.

At this point, the Hindu petitioners also moved a plea before the District Judge for permission to offer prayers at a spot where a “Shivling” was allegedly discovered. This despite the fact that the findings of the video survey had still not been made public officially, and no competent authority has confirmed that the structure is indeed a “Shivling”. The AIM says that it is a portion of an old defunct fountain. In fact, not one but two Mahants of the Kashi Vishwanath temple have also debunked “Shivling” claims and said that just about any stone sculpture cannot be labelled a “Shivling”. Additionally, the Hindu Sena has also filed an application before the Varanasi District Judge to be made party to the suit. They have also demanded that the Gyanvapi site be handed over to Hindus for worship.

On June 8, 2022, the Varanasi district court rejected the plea filed by Swami Avimukteshwaranand seeking permission to offer prayers to the structure found inside the Gyanvapi mosque complex which has been claimed to be a ‘Shivling’ as per the survey report of the ordered by the Court. After hearing the matter, the district judge Ajay Krishna Vishwesha rejected the application reportedly stating, “The application presented by the applicant does not appear to be of urgent nature. The application submitted by the applicant for grant of permission to present the suit in summer vacation is rejected.”

Meanwhile, three more parties - Lord Vishweshara (through next friend) Hindu Sena, Brahmin Sabha, and Nirmohi Akhara, have also approached the court seeking impleadment in the suit as plaintiffs. Also, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind moved the Supreme Court seeking to become a party in the PIL challenging the constitutional validity of provisions of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 which froze the religious character of structures as it was at the time of independence.

Plea for FIR against AIM dismissed

In related developments, the same court on June 27, rejected a plea by the Vishwa Vaidik Sanatan Sangh (VVSS), that demanded that a First Information Report (FIR) be filed against AIM. The petitioner feared that symbols related to Hinduism were being destroyed by the mosque committee. SabrangIndia had reported previously how VVSS, led by Jitendra Singh ‘Visen’ alleges that the AIM has damaged the basic structure of the Lord Visheshwar temple located on the mosque premises, and demanded that the FIR be filed as per provisions of the Places of Worship Act. VVSS had first moved the court of the special chief judicial magistrate, but it rejected this petition.

On June 14, VVSS moved the district court, and was heard on June 23. The AIM submitted that the case related to the main matter was already being heard by the court and therefore the petition for filing an FIR should not be entertained. On June 23, the court reserved its order pertaining to filing of FIR against AIM, and on June 27, the court dismissed the plea.

According to a Times of India report, the judge in his order observed that the petitioner had not explicitly mentioned any fact on the basis of which cognizable offence appears to have been committed, and upheld the lower court’s decision to dismiss the petition.

Related:

Gyanvapi case: Varanasi court reserves order on admitting petition pertaining to FIR against AIM
Gyanvapi case: Plea demanding FIR against mosque authorities to be heard on June 23
Gyanvapi case: VVSS demands FIR against mosque authorities
Gyanvapi Case: Varanasi Court rejects plea seeking permission to worship alleged ‘Shivling’ inside the mosque

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Gujarat court remands Teesta Setalvad to judicial custody

She will now be taken to the Sabarmati Jail in Ahmedabad, where she will be lodged for 14 days or till she gets bail

02 Jul 2022

 judicial custodyImage Courtesy: briflynews.com

As the police custody of Teesta Setalvad came to an end, she was presented before the Metropolitan Magistrate’s court in Ahmedabad on July 2. The court remanded her to 14-days judicial custody.

The journalist and human rights defender was, on June 26, remanded by the Metropolitan Magistrate's court to the custody of the Ahmedabad Crime Branch. On July 2, when this remand ended, the police did not seek further remand of Setalvad, or even former Gujarat Director General of Police (DGP) RB Sreekumar. They were both granted judicial custody, which will be valid for 14-days or until bail is granted, whichever is earlier. Setalvad’s team will now apply for bail.

Till bail is granted, Setalvad will be taken to Sabarmati Jail. Given the fact that several of the Gujarat riots cases convicts, who Setalvad’s organisation Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) helped put behind bars, are also lodged in the same jail, Setalvad, through her advocate SM Vatsa, has moved an application before the court seeking protection within jail. She apprehends that she may face harm if protection is not granted.

Order with respect to this application has been reserved by the court. This story will be updated when the order is passed.

It is noteworthy that Mahatma Gandhi was also jailed here briefly in 1922. The vindictive State has thus, unintentionally, highlighted what’s common between the two peace-loving leaders from two different time periods – that they both believed in never backing down… no matter how powerful their opponent may be.

Related:

A week in the life of human rights defender Teesta Setalvad
Nation unites to demand Teesta Setalvad’s release
Suo motu clarify Zakia Jafri case judgment's intention to not prosecute Teesta Setalvad: Citizens write to CJI

Gujarat court remands Teesta Setalvad to judicial custody

She will now be taken to the Sabarmati Jail in Ahmedabad, where she will be lodged for 14 days or till she gets bail

 judicial custodyImage Courtesy: briflynews.com

As the police custody of Teesta Setalvad came to an end, she was presented before the Metropolitan Magistrate’s court in Ahmedabad on July 2. The court remanded her to 14-days judicial custody.

The journalist and human rights defender was, on June 26, remanded by the Metropolitan Magistrate's court to the custody of the Ahmedabad Crime Branch. On July 2, when this remand ended, the police did not seek further remand of Setalvad, or even former Gujarat Director General of Police (DGP) RB Sreekumar. They were both granted judicial custody, which will be valid for 14-days or until bail is granted, whichever is earlier. Setalvad’s team will now apply for bail.

Till bail is granted, Setalvad will be taken to Sabarmati Jail. Given the fact that several of the Gujarat riots cases convicts, who Setalvad’s organisation Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) helped put behind bars, are also lodged in the same jail, Setalvad, through her advocate SM Vatsa, has moved an application before the court seeking protection within jail. She apprehends that she may face harm if protection is not granted.

Order with respect to this application has been reserved by the court. This story will be updated when the order is passed.

It is noteworthy that Mahatma Gandhi was also jailed here briefly in 1922. The vindictive State has thus, unintentionally, highlighted what’s common between the two peace-loving leaders from two different time periods – that they both believed in never backing down… no matter how powerful their opponent may be.

Related:

A week in the life of human rights defender Teesta Setalvad
Nation unites to demand Teesta Setalvad’s release
Suo motu clarify Zakia Jafri case judgment's intention to not prosecute Teesta Setalvad: Citizens write to CJI

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Nupur Sharma single-handedly responsible for what is happening in the country: SC

SC remarks on how Nupur Sharma’s remarks set the country on fire

02 Jul 2022

Nupur

On July 1, 2022, Supreme Court of India rebuked Nupur Sharma, the suspended spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) while dismissing her petition to club FIRs against her in different states with the one in Delhi over her remarks on the Prophet Mohammed.

The vacation bench of Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala came down heavily on Nupur Sharma for making “disturbing” and derogatory remarks against Prophet Mohammed and igniting communal rift in the country. The bench reportedly held that she has a “loose tongue” and held her "single-handedly responsible for what is happening in the country”. This, just days after a tailor was beheaded for allegedly supporting and sharing her remarks.

The Court reportedly remarked, “What is her business to make these remarks? The way she has ignited emotions across the country... This lady is single handedly responsible for what is happening in the country."

When brought to the court’s attention by Nupur Sharma’s counsel Senior Advocate Mahinder Singh that she had given out a written apology, the Court said, “She should have gone to the TV and apologised to the nation…She was too late to withdraw...and too she withdraws conditionally, saying if sentiments hurt.”

The bench also pulled up the Delhi Police for their inaction. The Court reportedly asked, “What has Delhi Police done? Don’t make us open our mouth. When you get an FIR registered against XYZ, he is arrested immediately… Nobody has dared to touch you. What if she is the spokesperson of a party? She thinks she has back-up power and can make any statement without respect to the law of the land? These are not religious people at all, they make statements to provoke.”

When it was brought up by Senior Advocate Singh that there was threat to her life, Justice Surya Kant reportedly retorted, “She has threat or she has become a security threat?”

It is important to note here that Alt News Fact-checker Mohammad Zubair, who had brought to light Sharma's comments on Prophet was reportedly arrested by the Delhi Police on Monday over a tweet he had posted in 2018.

As reported by LiveLaw, the Supreme Court also expressed its reservation on Sharma bypassing the lower courts and directly approaching the apex court. "The petition smacks of her arrogance, that the Magistrates of the country are too small for her." The Supreme Court reportedly observed that the channel had no business to discuss the matter which is sub-judice, "except to promote an agenda". It added that if Sharma was aggrieved by alleged misuse of the debate, she should have lodged an FIR against the anchor.

The bench reportedly declined to provide any relief to Sharma as Justice Surya Kant told her counsel, “No, Mr Singh, when the conscience of the court is not satisfied, we must mould the law accordingly.”

CJP was among first to call out Times Now’s bias towards BJP’s Nupur Sharma

Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) was perhaps among the first organisations to raise the issue and write to Times Now about their News Hour debate show ‘The Gyanvapi Files’ that aired on May 26, 2022. The CJP wrote to Times Now on June 1, soon after studying the issue in detail, after Mohd Zubair of ALtNews had tweeted exposing the story on May 27. The Times Now debate seemed one-sided and partisan, and had thus violated “the basic principles of journalism and those laid down by the esteemed News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA),” wrote CJP. The letter highlighted how anchor Navika Kumar appeared biased towards Nupur Sharma and did not even attempt to intervene even when Sharma made remarks about Prophet Mohammed. The narrative of the show appeared to suggest that it intended to spread hatred, stigmatise and demean the Muslim community on national television, on a channel that is accessible and within the reach of a large number of people and has a huge societal influence.

Nupur Sharma, then the BJP’s national spokesperson said, “They (Muslims) should be told to shut up and stop insulting our (Hindu) religion. Otherwise, we are also capable of hitting them where it hurts. They may call it a fountain as much as they want, but the reality is that even the Supreme Court ordered immediate protection of the area…” She then went on to make even more comments targeting Muslims asking, “Claims made in the Quran about your flying horses… that the earth is flat …should I make fun of it?” But the shocker was when she alleged that Prophet Mohammed, revered by all Muslims, married and defiled a child.

Related:

BJP dumps spokesperson Nupur Sharma, Naveen K. Jindal in damage control move

Student leader, Abdul Rehman arrested for protesting against hate-monger, Nupur Sharma

After Times Now debate Nupur Sharma gets online threats from trolls

Shocking! Man beheaded in Udaipur for social media post supporting Nupur Sharma

Nupur Sharma single-handedly responsible for what is happening in the country: SC

SC remarks on how Nupur Sharma’s remarks set the country on fire

Nupur

On July 1, 2022, Supreme Court of India rebuked Nupur Sharma, the suspended spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) while dismissing her petition to club FIRs against her in different states with the one in Delhi over her remarks on the Prophet Mohammed.

The vacation bench of Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala came down heavily on Nupur Sharma for making “disturbing” and derogatory remarks against Prophet Mohammed and igniting communal rift in the country. The bench reportedly held that she has a “loose tongue” and held her "single-handedly responsible for what is happening in the country”. This, just days after a tailor was beheaded for allegedly supporting and sharing her remarks.

The Court reportedly remarked, “What is her business to make these remarks? The way she has ignited emotions across the country... This lady is single handedly responsible for what is happening in the country."

When brought to the court’s attention by Nupur Sharma’s counsel Senior Advocate Mahinder Singh that she had given out a written apology, the Court said, “She should have gone to the TV and apologised to the nation…She was too late to withdraw...and too she withdraws conditionally, saying if sentiments hurt.”

The bench also pulled up the Delhi Police for their inaction. The Court reportedly asked, “What has Delhi Police done? Don’t make us open our mouth. When you get an FIR registered against XYZ, he is arrested immediately… Nobody has dared to touch you. What if she is the spokesperson of a party? She thinks she has back-up power and can make any statement without respect to the law of the land? These are not religious people at all, they make statements to provoke.”

When it was brought up by Senior Advocate Singh that there was threat to her life, Justice Surya Kant reportedly retorted, “She has threat or she has become a security threat?”

It is important to note here that Alt News Fact-checker Mohammad Zubair, who had brought to light Sharma's comments on Prophet was reportedly arrested by the Delhi Police on Monday over a tweet he had posted in 2018.

As reported by LiveLaw, the Supreme Court also expressed its reservation on Sharma bypassing the lower courts and directly approaching the apex court. "The petition smacks of her arrogance, that the Magistrates of the country are too small for her." The Supreme Court reportedly observed that the channel had no business to discuss the matter which is sub-judice, "except to promote an agenda". It added that if Sharma was aggrieved by alleged misuse of the debate, she should have lodged an FIR against the anchor.

The bench reportedly declined to provide any relief to Sharma as Justice Surya Kant told her counsel, “No, Mr Singh, when the conscience of the court is not satisfied, we must mould the law accordingly.”

CJP was among first to call out Times Now’s bias towards BJP’s Nupur Sharma

Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) was perhaps among the first organisations to raise the issue and write to Times Now about their News Hour debate show ‘The Gyanvapi Files’ that aired on May 26, 2022. The CJP wrote to Times Now on June 1, soon after studying the issue in detail, after Mohd Zubair of ALtNews had tweeted exposing the story on May 27. The Times Now debate seemed one-sided and partisan, and had thus violated “the basic principles of journalism and those laid down by the esteemed News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA),” wrote CJP. The letter highlighted how anchor Navika Kumar appeared biased towards Nupur Sharma and did not even attempt to intervene even when Sharma made remarks about Prophet Mohammed. The narrative of the show appeared to suggest that it intended to spread hatred, stigmatise and demean the Muslim community on national television, on a channel that is accessible and within the reach of a large number of people and has a huge societal influence.

Nupur Sharma, then the BJP’s national spokesperson said, “They (Muslims) should be told to shut up and stop insulting our (Hindu) religion. Otherwise, we are also capable of hitting them where it hurts. They may call it a fountain as much as they want, but the reality is that even the Supreme Court ordered immediate protection of the area…” She then went on to make even more comments targeting Muslims asking, “Claims made in the Quran about your flying horses… that the earth is flat …should I make fun of it?” But the shocker was when she alleged that Prophet Mohammed, revered by all Muslims, married and defiled a child.

Related:

BJP dumps spokesperson Nupur Sharma, Naveen K. Jindal in damage control move

Student leader, Abdul Rehman arrested for protesting against hate-monger, Nupur Sharma

After Times Now debate Nupur Sharma gets online threats from trolls

Shocking! Man beheaded in Udaipur for social media post supporting Nupur Sharma

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Kashmiri Pandit killings: Jammu and Kashmir HC initiates case based on letter petition

Petition had been moved by Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti showcasing vulnerability of the minority Hindus community in the Valley

01 Jul 2022

Kashmiri PanditImage Courtesy: lawyersclubindia.com

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has initiated a case based on a letter petition moved by Sanjay Tickoo, president of the Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (KPSS).

SabrangIndia had reported previously that in wake of growing anxiety amidst the minority Hindu community in the state, KPSS had written to the HC on June 1, listing the names of members of the Kashmiri Pandit community who had been killed in the Valley so far. The letter also expressed concerns over the appearance of posters by terrorist organisations warning of dire consequences for the members of the community who did not migrate out of the state during the Kashmiri Pandit exodus of the late 80s and early 90s.

Now, Bar and Bench reports that a bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Javed Iqbal Wani heard the matter. While Advocate Gowhar Jan appeared for the petitioner, Advocate General DC Raina along with government advocate Sajad Ashraf appeared for the State. The case was adjourned to July 4, 2022 on the request of the petitioner.

What had KPSS said in the letter?

The minority Hindu Kashmiri Pandit community has been in the crosshairs of terrorists over the last few months, and many prominent and beloved members of the community including pharmacists, teachers, government employees and businessmen have been gunned down so far. In fact, Ajay Pandita, a Sarpanch of a village in Anantnag, was killed way back in June 2020. By May 31, 2022, as many as 12 people have been killed.

The community, feeling threatened, wanted to leave the Valley, but the letter alleged, “That the Kashmiri Pandits / Hindus want to leave Kashmir Valley but the Government is not allowing them to leave which can be gathered from the press/news reports and social media statements. The government blocked the roads, used electric currents to barricade the walls of the transit camps, the main doors of the transit camps are closed from outside with locks.”

The letter added that it was “a clear violation of the Right to life which is guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India as on the one hand, UT / Central Administration fail to protect the lives of the religious minorities in Kashmir Valley and on the other hand does not let them leave Kashmir Valley so that they can protect their respective lives.”

The petition demanded a probe into the spate of murders of members of the Kashmiri Pandit community.

The entire letter petition may be viewed here: 

According to Tickoo, “At present a total of 808 families, comprising over 3,400 people live in different parts of the Kashmir Valley.” Many of these non-migrant Kashmiri Pandit families are extremely impoverished and live in squalor with no steady source of income. In wake of the killings, 800 Kashmir Pandits who live in South Kashmir, continue to fear for their safety.

Related:

Minority Kashmiri Hindus fear “something fishy” in South Kashmir
Hate speech impact on Kashmir Valley & Jammu, communal tension reported
Kashmir: Friday sermons in mosques express solidarity with Kashmiri Hindu brethren
Kashmir: Migrant labourer shot dead by militants in Budgam
Kashmir: School teacher Rajni Bala gunned down by terrorists in front of students

Kashmiri Pandit killings: Jammu and Kashmir HC initiates case based on letter petition

Petition had been moved by Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti showcasing vulnerability of the minority Hindus community in the Valley

Kashmiri PanditImage Courtesy: lawyersclubindia.com

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has initiated a case based on a letter petition moved by Sanjay Tickoo, president of the Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (KPSS).

SabrangIndia had reported previously that in wake of growing anxiety amidst the minority Hindu community in the state, KPSS had written to the HC on June 1, listing the names of members of the Kashmiri Pandit community who had been killed in the Valley so far. The letter also expressed concerns over the appearance of posters by terrorist organisations warning of dire consequences for the members of the community who did not migrate out of the state during the Kashmiri Pandit exodus of the late 80s and early 90s.

Now, Bar and Bench reports that a bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Javed Iqbal Wani heard the matter. While Advocate Gowhar Jan appeared for the petitioner, Advocate General DC Raina along with government advocate Sajad Ashraf appeared for the State. The case was adjourned to July 4, 2022 on the request of the petitioner.

What had KPSS said in the letter?

The minority Hindu Kashmiri Pandit community has been in the crosshairs of terrorists over the last few months, and many prominent and beloved members of the community including pharmacists, teachers, government employees and businessmen have been gunned down so far. In fact, Ajay Pandita, a Sarpanch of a village in Anantnag, was killed way back in June 2020. By May 31, 2022, as many as 12 people have been killed.

The community, feeling threatened, wanted to leave the Valley, but the letter alleged, “That the Kashmiri Pandits / Hindus want to leave Kashmir Valley but the Government is not allowing them to leave which can be gathered from the press/news reports and social media statements. The government blocked the roads, used electric currents to barricade the walls of the transit camps, the main doors of the transit camps are closed from outside with locks.”

The letter added that it was “a clear violation of the Right to life which is guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India as on the one hand, UT / Central Administration fail to protect the lives of the religious minorities in Kashmir Valley and on the other hand does not let them leave Kashmir Valley so that they can protect their respective lives.”

The petition demanded a probe into the spate of murders of members of the Kashmiri Pandit community.

The entire letter petition may be viewed here: 

According to Tickoo, “At present a total of 808 families, comprising over 3,400 people live in different parts of the Kashmir Valley.” Many of these non-migrant Kashmiri Pandit families are extremely impoverished and live in squalor with no steady source of income. In wake of the killings, 800 Kashmir Pandits who live in South Kashmir, continue to fear for their safety.

Related:

Minority Kashmiri Hindus fear “something fishy” in South Kashmir
Hate speech impact on Kashmir Valley & Jammu, communal tension reported
Kashmir: Friday sermons in mosques express solidarity with Kashmiri Hindu brethren
Kashmir: Migrant labourer shot dead by militants in Budgam
Kashmir: School teacher Rajni Bala gunned down by terrorists in front of students

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