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Delhi High Court Issues Notice To Delhi Govt, Media Channels On Protection Plea By UP Woman Who Converted To Islam

Nupur Thapliyal
12 July 2021 12:32 PM GMT
Delhi High Court Issues Notice To Delhi Govt, Media Channels On Protection Plea By UP Woman Who Converted To Islam
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The Delhi High Court has issued notice to the Delhi Government, the Delhi Police, media houses including Zee Media, Navbharat Times and the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) on a fresh petition moved on behalf of a Hindu woman from Uttar Pradesh, who converted to Islam. She alleged that owing to her religious conversion, she and her family members are being targeted and...

The Delhi High Court has issued notice to the Delhi Government, the Delhi Police, media houses including Zee Media, Navbharat Times and the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) on a fresh petition moved on behalf of a Hindu woman from Uttar Pradesh, who converted to Islam. She alleged that owing to her religious conversion, she and her family members are being targeted and malicious content about her is being published in the media.

Justice Rekha Palli however refused to issue notice to the State of Uttar Pradesh by reasoning that the Court does not have the jurisdiction to do so.

The woman has been residing in Delhi but is originally from Uttar Pradesh. She sought police protection for herself and her family. The woman also submitted that the media should respect her privacy and refrain from publishing any malicious news about her. It is urged that the media channels be made to comply with the directions issued by the High Court in the case of Disha A Ravi v. State (NCT of Delhi) & Ors.

It is her case that she had converted to Islam religion with her own free will and without any threat or coercion from anyone in the year 2012 after which a certificate of conversion was issued. Since June this year however, she was being harassed on account of such religious conversion.

During the course of hearing today, Advocate Tanya Agarwal appearing for the petitioner raised an apprehension before the Court that the woman may be taken away from the Jurisdiction of the Court and requested the Court to issue notice to the State of UP so as to get a clarified stand on affidavit on the issue.

Another concern raised on behalf of the petitioner was that she had started receiving threats after the Respondent media channels who had earlier published certain news items following the advertisements published on 6th and 8th April this year regarding her conversion to Islam.

Submitting that the said acts infringes her right to dignity and privacy, it was stated that her address, name along with her photographs was circulated by the media channels. It was also requested that the news articles be taken down from the concerned websites.

The Court in its order noted,

"The writ petition has been preferred by a young woman of 32 years who claims that she had converted out of her own free will to Islam without any inducement or coercion on 12 October 2012 and has been practicing religion ever since. After her conversion on March 31, 2021, she issued advertisements dated 6th and 8th April 3, 2021. She has been receiving threats from respondents 1-5 and 6-8 who have been publishing article along with her pictures which is causing irreparable damage to her."

However, it denied the request for issuing notice to the State of UP. It further expressed inclination to hear the Respondent parties before passing any further directions, especially regarding the media channels. The Court directed thus:

"Keeping in view the averments made in the plea and Respondents 4 and 5 being beyond the jurisdiction of this court, issue notice to respondents 1 to 3 and 6 to 8. Let counter affidavit be filed within 3 weeks, rejoinder be filed within 2 weeks thereafter." The Court directed.

The Court however went ahead to direct that due protection be given to the woman as long as she is residing within the jurisdiction of Police Station Jamia Nagar. It also said that in case she is traveling to any area in Delhi, she concerned SHO will coordinate with the SHO of that area.

The matter will now be heard on November 16.

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