Supreme Court relief for three booked under UAPA by Tripura | India News

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday gave protection from arrest to a CPI(ML) member, a human rights activist and a journalist, who challenged slapping of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act charges against them for posting “Tripura is burning” and sought a restrictive meaning to “unlawful activities” under the act to curb its rampant misuse.
Tripura Police had earlier said that action had been taken against various social media handles for falsely claiming that mosques have been burned down in the state when this was not the case.
A bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices D Y Chandrachud and Surya Kant issued notices to the Centre and the Tripura government on the joint petition filed by the three after hearing advocate Prashant Bhushan briefly. The bench said two others accused under UAPA have already been granted bail and ordered that “in the meantime, no coercive steps, including arrest, shall be taken against the petitioners”.
First petitioner Mukesh Kumar is an advocate registered with the Bar Council of Delhi and has been associated with the All-India Central Council of Trade Unions, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) and People’s Union for Civil Liberties. The second petitioner is Ansarul Haq Ansari, who said he is a human rights activist from Rajasthan, and the third petitioner is Shyam Meera Singh, a journalist with web portal Newclick who often highlights grievances of the marginalised and minority communities.
The petitioners said their grievance is against “the targeted political violence against the Muslim minorities in Tripura during the second half of October 2021, and the subsequent efforts by the state to monopolise the flow of information and facts emanating from the affected areas by invoking provisions of the UAPA against members of civil society, including advocates and journalists who have made the effort to bring facts in relation to the targeted violence in the public domain”. The UAPA was enacted in 1967 to counter the threat of left-wing extremism to India and its sovereignty.
“If the state is allowed to criminalise the very act of fact-finding and reporting, and that too under the stringent provisions of the UAPA in which anticipatory bail is barred and the idea of bail is a remote possibility, the only facts that will come in the public domain are those that are convenient to the state due to the ‘chilling effect’ on the freedom of speech and expression of members of civil society. If the quest for truth and reporting thereof itself is criminalised then the victim in the process is the idea of justice,” they said.
The violence had erupted in the state after Durga Puja pandals were allegedly targeted in Bangladesh.





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