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Sunday, December 10, 2023

SC grants 4 wks protection to OpIndia editor & CEO


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New Delhi: Supreme Court of India has granted four weeks of protection to Editor of ‘OpIndia’ Nupur Sharma, and its CEO, Rahul Roushan, from arrest in the FIR filed against them on the charges of “spreading fake news” about targeted violence against Bihari migrant labourers in Tamil Nadu.

Supreame Court in its order said that no coercive action for four weeks can be taken against the OpIndia Editor & CEO, and asked them to approach Madras HC for quashing of the FIR.

A bench of the Supreme Court, headed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dr Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chadrachud passed the order on hearing the pleas filed by Nupur Sharma & CEO Rahul Roushan, against any coercive action against them for their act.

“Protection granted to the petitioners (both Nupur and Rahul) for 4 weeks,” the CJI led bench said in its order today.

Nupur and Rahul had moved the Supreme Court against arrest/coercive action by Tamil Nadu government for a case against them over report on targeted violence against migrants from Bihar.

The Apex Court, in its order, however, refused to quash the FIR, and asked them to move the Madras High Court for quashing of the FIR (First Information Report).

While granting interim protection to both the accused- Nupur and Rahul- the CJI led bench said, since the petitioners have effidacious alternate remedy under appropriate law, thereby we direct no coercive steps be taken against petitioners for four weeks.

Senior advocate, Mahesh Jethmalani, appearing for accused duo, said that the editor and her husband are the two petitioners. The editor has a six year old child.

To this, the CJI said, we cannot entertain the question of quashing, but we will protect her.

“Mr.Jethmalani, how can we quash the FIR under Article 32? You go to the Madras High Court for quashing,” the CJI observed.

Jethmalani, however, pleaded to the Supreme Court that there are decisions where FIRs have been quashed under Article 32.

But the Supreme Court, refused to quash the FIR and told him, it all depends on the facts of the cases. Go to Madras High Court.

“Please protect me, till I go to HC,” Jethmalani pleaded to the Supreme Court.

The Bench disposed of the writ petition by asking the petitioners to approach the High Court. “We grant them protection from coercive action for four weeks,” the SC said, in its order.


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