Tripura UAPA Case: SC Directs No Coercive Steps Be Taken Against Lawyers, Journo

The SC issued notice on a petition filed by two lawyers and a journalist challenging the FIR by Tripura Police.

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Edited By :Saundarya Talwar

The Supreme Court on Wednesday, 17 November, issued a notice on a petition filed by two lawyers and a journalist challenging an FIR registered by the Tripura Police under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC) over social media comments and reports regarding the violence in Tripura.

The apex court directed that no coercive action be taken against the three, reported LiveLaw.

The Tripura Police on 6 November had booked 102 social media handles under the UAPA, for their posts allegedly 'promoting enmity between religious groups.' The posts had shared reports of a spate of attacks on the minority Muslim community in the state.

The Tripura Police had alleged "criminal conspiracy" by the accused to "flare up communal tensions."


What Happened During the Hearing?

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justice DY Chandrachud, and Justice Surya Kant passed the order protecting the three accused on Wednesday, while hearing a writ petition filed by lawyers Mukesh and Ansarul Haq Ansar, as well as journalist Shyam Meera Singh.

Appearing for the petitioners, advocate Prashant Bhushan stated that the two lawyers had visited Tripura to study the violence and had published a fact-finding report about the incidents. Subsequently, the Tripura Police had issued a notice asking them to appear for interrogation in relation to the FIR under the UAPA.

The plea submitted before the bench also sought a court-monitored probe, and has argued that the use of the UAPA to criminalise fact-finding will result in a curb on the freedom of speech, and "only facts convenient to the government will come out," NDTV reported.

The CJI noted that he read some news reports that two journalists were granted bail with regard to the Tripura matter, which Bhushan clarified were two others and not the petitioners, who had not yet been arrested, reported LiveLaw.

The bench then ordered a notice to be issued on the petition and said that no coercive steps should be taken against the petitioners.

(With inputs from LiveLaw.)

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Topics:  Tripura Violence   UAPA 

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