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news details
HC stays proceedings in FIR against ET scribe
Notices issued to DC Kishtwar, SP, Ors
5/25/2018 11:43:41 PM
Early Times Report

Kishtwar, May 25: The J&K High Court on Friday ordered a stay on proceedings in a case filed by Kishtwar police against a local correspondent of Early Times.
In a petition filed by advocate Faheem Shokat Butt on behalf of the correspondent, the court ordered a stay in the case (FIR No. 117/2018 U/S 500, 504 & 505 RPC, dated 12-5-2018) and issued notices to the respondents.
The notices were issued in the case titled Asif Iqbal Naik Vs State of J&K through SHO Police Station Kishtwar, to Angrez Singh Rana, Deputy Commissioner Kishtwar; Abrar Chowdhary, Senior Superintendent of Police Kishtwar; Nihar Ranjan, Deputy Superintendent of Police Headquarter Kishtwar; and Sameer Jeelani, SHO Police Station Kishtwar.
The court ordered that no further proceedings be taken in the case till further orders. The petitioner submitted that the media is deemed to be the fourth pillar of democracy and voice of people and any such attempt to gag the press or electronic media would amount to infringement of right of free speech and expression as guaranteed by Article 19 of constitution of India. He said that "our country is governed by rule of law and an attempt to thwart the passage of free news would have potential of scuttling the democracy."
The petitioner counsel stated that an FIR impugned bearing No. 117/2018, dated 12-5-2018 U/S 500, 504, 505 RPC was registered against him wherein it is alleged that Early Times had reported about brutal torture by police of a father of five which led to his critical condition and he was shifted to GMC Jammu. The police claimed that the news report amounts to instigating the peace loving citizens of Kishtwar town and its vicinity to assume the forum of unlawful assembly and cause the offenses like road blockade, vandalism and destruction of public property etc.
The petitioner's counsel stated that at first instance no such vandalism and destruction of public property took place and the petitioner while performing his professional duties has reported the matter regarding which he was informed by kin of the detainee Akther Hussain and the said statements have also been videographed which is available on You Tube and the local MLA has also demanded the constitution of Special Investigation Team to probe the matter.
Moreover, a criminal complaint dated 19-04-2018 was filed by brother of detainee Akther Hussain against respondent No. 3-5 before the court of learned CJM Kishtwar under offences 330, 331, 342, and 348 RPC wherein allegations were leveled against District Police Kishtwar for third degree torture against his brother who was under custody. Thus the petitioner only reported the matter which was in public domain and has not subscribed any personal view. The counsel of the petitioner stated that according to police the detainee attempted to suicide and he has confessed the offence and this is all together a more serious matter as it is required to be probed what prompted him to end his life during custody added that the confession is mere eyewash as the same may have been taken under duress.
The petitioner's counsel also stated that the FIR impugned is manifestly attended with malafide and for collateral purpose to deter the petitioner from reporting any matter regarding District Police Kishtwar.
After hearing the counsel of the petitioner, Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur stayed the proceedings in the impugned FIR No. 117/2018 registered against Asif Iqbal Naik and issued the notices to respondents for explaining their position in this regard.
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