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KANGAROO COURTS OF MEDIA, misreporting, erroneous and manipulated coverage of court proceedings by National media-print as well electronic.
By, S Farman Ahmad Naqvi, Advocate, Allahabad High Court.
In a latest case PIL (Criminal) No. 16559/2012 (Naitya Nand Chaubey and another vs State of UP and others) which was filed in Allahabad High Court against the so called "would be" decision of UP govt. relating to withdrawal of cases against some Muslim youths (a notification of UP govt. dated 3.09.2012). State Govt. had only asked some details regarding pending cases against some Muslims in various districts and had not issued any orders as required to be passed for withdrawal of criminal cases under section 321 of Code of Criminal Procedure 1973. If that would have been the case here the same would also be a debatable issue. But here in this case, where State Govt. only called upon respective district authorities to send details of cases and other material, the High court only asked State to file its reply vide its order dated 29.11.2012. But our enthusiastic and excited media adorning "prejudiced frames" had gone beyond indescribable heights by putting their own prejudiced outlook in the mouth of Judges and quoted and widely circulated the orders as; "Meanwhile, the Allahabad High Court on Thursday had lashed out at the state government for its initiative to withdraw terror charges against those accused of the 2006 Varanasi serial blasts. A bench of Justice RK Agarwal and Justice RSR Maurya wondered if the government's move will end up encouraging terror activities. "Who will decide if a person is a terrorist or not? Since the cases in question are pending before the court, it should be left for the courts to decide." The court also observed, "Today the

2 government wants to withdraw cases against terror accused. Tomorrow they will be decorated with Padma Bhushan." The judges made these observations while hearing a PIL by social activists Nityanand Chaubey and Rakesh Nayayik of Varanasi questioning the government's move to withdraw the cases. The petitioners' counsel informed the court that the state government had already issued orders dated October 31, 2012 seeking the comments of the prosecution on withdrawing of cases against Waliullah and Shameem, arrested in connection with the March 7, 2006 serial blasts in Varanasi, despite the fact that they had confessed their involvement. Waliullah's interrogation had also led to recovery of items used in the terror attack. (The Times of India report dated 23rd, 24th and a repeat report on 25th November 2012, Lucknow and Amar Ujala Hindi dated 23rd November 2012 page 1 says 'AAJ AAP ATANKIYON KO CHORDENGE KAL UNHEN PADAMBHUSHAN DENGE" other paper DAINIK JAGRAN and HINDUSTAN Allahabad, of the same date reported the case in similar tones). Here are some of the links of various false news reports relating to above PIL. 1- F%E0%A5%8B%E0%A4%82-%E0%A4%95%E0%A5%8B%E0%A4%AA%E0%A4%A6%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%AE%E0%A4%B5%E0%A4%B F%E0%A4%AD%E0%A5%82%E0%A4%B7%E0%A4%A3%E0%A4%A6%E0%A4%BF%E0%A4%B2%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%A8%E0%A4%B E-%E0%A4%9A%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%B9%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%80%E0%A4%B9%E0%A5%88 2- 3- 4- 5- As a matter of fact no such orders are part of record of these proceedings before the High Court. Neither in the order dated 20.11.2012 nor in the order dated 22.11.2012 nor on 29th November any such reference made in PIL (Criminal) No.

3 16559/2012 (Naitya Nand Chaubey and another vs State of UP and others). The order says only for filing of reply by State and not anything further. It is interesting that only following three orders had been passed so far in this PIL. All the three orders are quoted below: First order"Court No. - 32 Case :- CRIMINAL WRIT-PUBLIC INETEREST LITIGATION No. - 16559 of 2012 Petitioner :- Nitya Nand Chaubey Respondent :- State Of U.P. & Others Petitioner Counsel :- Shashi Shankar Tripathi Respondent Counsel :- Govt. Advocate Hon'ble R.K. Agrawal,J. Hon'ble Ram Surat Ram (Maurya),J. � Put up as fresh day after tomorrow along with writ petition no.2199 of 2011 Order Date :- 20.11.2012 Second orderCourt No. - 32 Case :- CRIMINAL WRIT-PUBLIC INETEREST LITIGATION No. - 16559 of 2012 Petitioner :- Nitya Nand Chaubey Respondent :- State Of U.P. & Others Petitioner Counsel :- Shashi Shankar Tripathi Respondent Counsel :- Govt. Advocate Hon'ble R.K. Agrawal,J. Hon'ble Ram Surat Ram (Maurya),J. Government Advocate to obtain instructions. Put up as fresh on 27.11.2012 alongwith Criminal Public Interest Litigation No. 2199 of 2011.� Order Date :- 22.11.2012 Third orderChief Justice's Court Case :- CRIMINAL WRIT-PUBLIC INETEREST LITIGATION No. - 16559 of 2012 Petitioner :- Nitya Nand Chaubey Respondent :- State Of U.P. & Others Petitioner Counsel :- Shashi Shankar Tripathi Respondent Counsel :- Govt. Advocate Hon'ble Shiva Kirti Singh,Acting Chief Justice Hon'ble Sanjay Misra,J.

4 Let the matter be listed on 17th December, 2012 so that if possible, it may be finally disposed of. Order Date: - 29.11.2012" (Kindly refer to for the above orders). All these news reports are relating to order dated 22nd November and one can see that order of the previous day says nothing except that ......"Government Advocate to obtain instructions. Put up as fresh on 27.11.2012 along with Criminal Public Interest Litigation No. 2199 of 2011." Sri Shashi Shankar Tripathi, the Advocate appearing on behalf of petitioner in this case, had been quoted in media that on 29th November Hon'ble Shiva Kirti Singh, Acting Chief Justice that "the action amounts to waging war against country”. The serious concern is that these people in the media are going beyond their limits of freedom and are apparently being used by unscrupulous persons to fulfill their own political and prejudiced agenda by using these types of innocuous and normal court orders. The question is that whether it is not the high time to check this evil of false reporting of normal court proceedings where nothing had been said which was reported. Can this be allowed unabated? This reckless reporting also amounts to scandalizing the court, by above news reports, indicating that court is looking the matter in a manner in which the petitioner wanted it to be seen and not in a justifiable manner. The news reports are actually amounting to criminal contempt as stipulated under Section 2(c) in The Contempt Of Courts Act, 1971 (c) criminal contempt" means the publication (whether by words. spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representations, or otherwise) of any matter or the doing of any other act whatsoever which- (i) scandalises or tends to scandalise, or lowers or tends to lower the authority of, any court; or (ii) prejudices, or interferes or tends to interfere with, the due course of any judicial proceeding; or (iii) interferes or tends to interfere with, or obstructs or tends to obstruct, the administration of justice in any other manner. It is also a question that if any offensive material posted on face book or on twitters or at any other place on the web is punishable under section 66-A of Information Technology Act then why not these enthusiastic media personals be also booked under the IT act. Kindly ponder here section 66- A Information Technology Act which reads as under; “Any person who sends, by means of a computer resource or a communication device,— a)any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character; or b)any information which he knows to be false, but for the purpose of causing

5 annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred or ill will, persistently by making use of such computer resource or a communication device, c)any electronic mail or electronic mail message for the purpose of causing annoyance or inconvenience or to deceive or to mislead the addressee or recipient about the origin of such messages. Punishment - Imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with fine. Explanation — For the purpose of this section, terms “electronic mail” and “electronic mail message” means a message or information created or transmitted or received on a computer, computer system, computer resource or communication device including attachments in text, images, audio, video and any other electronic record, which may be transmitted with the message.” The section covers two different acts – 1. Sending offensive or menacing messages sent by using electronic communication means. 2. Sending false messages to cheat, mislead or deceive people or to cause annoyance to them. Hence the news reports floating in media on websites of these news papers and TV channels fully qualifies to be a grossly offensive, to cause annoyance, misleading and was meant to deceive people; hence it is punishable under this section of IT Act also. The Courts, which are the only Constitutional Institution left for all the deprived, underprivileged, poor, derelict, minorities, dalits, women and farmers etc. cannot be left as a pawn in the hands and this type of unscrupulous and unprincipled Media persons who place fictitious things in news mold in the name of conjured and non existing court orders. These types‟ of media persons cannot be allowed to roam free. They are liable to be handled with iron hands. They not only harm the institution of journalism but also try to divide society on communal lines in the garb of these manipulated and morphed extensively circulated reports, as the persons who are proposed to be released are Muslims and the writ petition was filed be a Hindu hence it is not left as a legal issue but is to be seen as a communal issue which is to be looked into by populace with a different slant. The entire premise of proposing to withdraw these cases by State Govt. against these Muslims, is totally false cooked up cases as advised by R D Nimesh commission report which rejected the police theory of circumstances leading to the arrest of two youths alleged to be involved in serial bomb blasts across Uttar Pradesh courts in 2007, one member of the R D Nimesh Inquiry Commission has stated that the police claim regarding the date, place and timing of arrests appears to be „doubtful‟.

6 This fact was reported by Indian Express on Tue Dec 04 2012 said it is in possession of the 237 page report, (dated August 31) in which the Commission has recommended that “identify and act against officials who perpetrated this unlawful activity. The Commission was set up in March 2008 by the BSP government to probe into the arrest of Tariq Qasmi and Khalid Mujahid for their alleged involvement in November 23, 2007 serial blasts at district courts of Lucknow, Varanasi and Faizabad. According to reports, at least 14 persons were killed and several persons were critically injured in these blasts. On December 22, 2007, the STF, in a press conference addressed by ADGP (Law and Order) Brijlal in Lucknow, had claimed that they have arrested Tariq and Khalid from Barabanki, and recovered detonators and RDX from them. The family of the youths, however, claimed that Tariq, a practitioner of Unani Medicine, was picked up from Shankarpur check post near Sarai Meer in Azamgarh. And Khalid was reportedly picked up from Mariyahu in Jaunpur much ahead of the date mentioned by the police. Expressing its doubts regarding the police claims, the Commission recommended that guilty officials should be punished. However, the Commission failed to establish the identity of the culprits. “In the incidents between December 12 and 22, 2007, it appears some other police force was involved, in addition to STF, but it is not clear with the available evidences as to which force, or officials were involved in picking, detaining and torturing Khalid Mujahid and Tariq Qasmi. Therefore, the responsibility can be fixed only after identifying individual officials...Since the case is being tried at Barabanki district court, at this stage responsibility cannot be fixed against any person,” the Commission said. The Commission submitted its report to the UP government in September, after a delay of more than four years. ”. **************