New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Wednesday blocked Tripura police from taking coercive steps against two lawyers and one journalist, booked under anti-terror law, UAPA(Unlawful Activities Prevention Act) following their social media posts and reports on recent communal violence in the state.
The ruling by Bench comprising Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Surya Kant came over writ petition filed by the lawyers Mukesh and Ansarul Haq Ansar, and journalist Shyam Meera Singh who sought quashing of the UAPA FIR.
The petitioners submitted that they had visited tripura and all they did was publish a fact-finding report on what they found. Following this the Tripura police issued notices under section 41A of Code of Criminal Procedure and summoned for interrogation relating to UAPA charges.
The Bench said it found new reports on journalists being bailed in the case, to which petitioners clarified that they were people whose arrests were pendng. The petitioners also challenged the constitutional validity of sec 2(1)(O) that defines ‘unlawful activity’.
Backdrop: Mukesh is a human rights lawyer working with People’s Union for Civil Liberties and Ansor Indori is missioned similarly and attached to National Confederation of Human Rights. Together they had held a press conferene, streamed live through Facebook, and released a report titled “Humanity Under Attack in Tripura #MuslimLivesMatter#”.
The report listed attacks on 12 masjids, 9 shops and 3 Muslim households. The team touring Tripura was led by Supreme Court lawyer Ehtesham Hshmi and comprised among others Advocate Amit Srivastav from Coordination Committee, Lawyers for Democracy. Post preparing its report, the committee demanded a probe headed by retired High Court judge and administer compensation for victims and reparation of damaged religious places.