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'SC Must Show Sobriety': Justice Madan Lokur on Arrests Post Zakia Jafri Order

Justice Lokur also answered our questions about what courts can do about arbitrary arrest of activists, journalists.

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Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam

“In every case the court has to be a little careful,” retired Supreme Court Justice Madan Lokur told The Quint, on being asked if a need has emerged for the courts to cautiously word their orders.

Justice Lokur answered The Quint’s questions about the chilling effect of judgments such as the one in the Zakia Jafri case, within 24 hours of which activist Teesta Setalvad, and former Gujarat DGP RB Sreekumar were arrested, and a case was slapped against Setalvad, Sreekumar, and former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt.

Rejecting Zakia Jafri's plea challenging the SIT probe in the Gujarat riots, the Supreme Court had cast aspersions about there being a “coalesced effort” and “devious stratagem adopted to keep the pot boiling” for “ulterior design.”

Setalvad was a co-petitioner and the FIR, on the basis of which Seetalvad was detained, quotes heavily, amid a barrage of seeming conjectures, from the Supreme Court judgment in the case.

Speaking to The Quint, Justice Lokur said

“I think the Supreme Court has to be sober or has to exercise sobriety while referring to conduct of persons.”
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Further Justice Lokur opined that an order such as the Zakia Jafri order is certain to have chilling effect.

On being asked if the courts can proactively prevent arbitrary arrest of civil right defenders, journalists, fact-checkers etc, Justice Lokur said,

So the Supreme Court has issued guidelines on how to arrest, when to arrest. But if the police does not adhere to those guidelines, then the only thing that can be done is that the magistrate before whom the person is produced should take it up.”

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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