‘A lethal cocktail of use and misuse of law’ is being used to curb free press and speech, said former Supreme Court Judge Madan B Lokur on Tuesday. He alleged that the authorities are trying to impact the liberty of all those who dare to speak up.
Justice Lokur made these statements while delivering the 2020 BG Verghese Memorial Lecture on ‘Preserving and Protecting our Fundamental Rights – Freedom of Speech, Expression and the Right to Protest,’ organised by the Media Foundation, PTI reported.
The former top court judge alleged authorities were abusing prohibitory orders, the shutdown of the Internet and have found various ways of ‘weaponising’ the sedition laws.
Justice Lokur was among the four senior top court judges who called for the controversial 12 January 2018 press conference against the then Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
He alleged that the imposition of Section 144 of CrPC was a gross violation of the Freedom of the Press.
He referred to the case of the preventive detention of doctor Kafeel Khan, and said that law was violated. Thirty-eight-year-old paediatrician Dr Kafeel Khan was arrested in January for his speech made at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) criticising the controversial new citizenship law that it is discriminatory against Muslims.
He slammed the authorities for arresting Pinjra Tod member Devangana Kalita in the Delhi riots case, and said they attributed things to a person who never said that and then instituted punitive proceedings, PTI reported.
He urged that in a democracy different points of view may exist but that should ‘disintegrate the very fabric of the society.’
(With inputs from PTI)