No coercive steps to be taken against journalist, lawyers charged by Tripura Police: Supreme Court 

Supreme Court issues notice to the Tripura government on petition challenging FIR registered under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act

Tripura violence

The Supreme Court of India has ordered that “no coercive steps should be taken” against the two lawyers who were part of a fact-finding team that visited Tripura to investigate the communal violence that broke out in the state in October, and journalist Shyam Meera Singh who had written a social media post about the violence. They had all been booked under the draconian anti-terror law Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) by the Tripura Police for posting their opinions on social media, related to the recent communal violence in the state.

According to a report by Live Law, a Bench comprising Chief Justice NV Ramana, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Surya Kant, passed the order while issuing notice in the writ petition filed by lawyers Mukesh and Ansarul Haq Ansar and journalist Shyam Meera Singh seeking to quash the UAPA FIR. Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioners, submitted that the two lawyers had visited Tripura and published a fact-finding report about the communal violence, which led to the Tripura police issuing notices under Section 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure against them, asking their appearance for interrogation in relation to the FIR under UAPA.

It is reported that the CJI observed that he read some news reports that the journalists were granted bail in Tripura, however advocate Bhushan clarified that those were two other journalists, and the petitioners were yet to be arrested. The bench then ordered notice on the petition, and restrained Tripura Police from taking any coercive steps against the three petitioners.

Advocate Ehtesham Hashmi who led the fact-Onding team and co-authored the report along with Advocate Amit Srivastav, told SabrangIndia, on Wednesday, that the “Rule of law will always prevail… Grand salute to the Constitution of India and the Supreme Court.”



Their petition had been listed after a request seeking urgent hearing was made before a Bench headed by the Chief Justice of India NV Ramana by Advocate Prashant Bhushan on behalf of the petitioners. The news report stated that petitioners have also “challenged the constitutional validity of Section 2(1)(o)(which defines “unlawful activity), Section 13(punishment for unlawful activity) and 43D(5) (restrictions on grant of bail) of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.” 

Delhi-based human rights lawyers Mukesh of Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and Ansar Indori of National Confederation of Human Rights, a part of Lawyers For Democracy, were booked by the Tripura Police under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for allegedly sharing fake information, on social media, as well as Twitter users who have been accused of posting “distorted or objectionable” content about the alleged Mosque vandalism in the state. Police say that these 68 handles have also been booked under stringent UAPA.

The group of lawyers had, after their visit to the violence hit areas of Tripura, investigated and released their fact finding report simultaneously in Agartala and in New Delhi on November 1. On Wednesday, November 3, Tripura Police sent notices under UAPA to two of the lawyers who were part of a fact-finding team that visited the northeastern state to investigate the communal violence that broke out there in October.



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