The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a plea for issuance of directions to prohibit and stop dissemination of information or data of Coronavirus disease or any epidemic on the basis of religion, caste, community and religious identity or religious group on the basis of religious or communal classification.
A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy & MR Shah dismissed the plea filed by Advocate Md. Irshad Hanif.
The petitioner advocate, Miriam Fozia Rahman, stated that the instant petition was all about right to dignity and honour. "Disease does not have a religion. There cannot be a Muslim Tuberculosis or a Christian Cancer," she said.
Drawn by M. Qayam Ud Din & Fozia Rahman, the plea states that the the medical and public health emergency during outbreak of a pandemic may cause distress, anxiety and social stigma and therefore escalate prejudices against people and a particular community which amounts to them being targeted for spreading the novel Coronavirus.
Petitioner draws references to the Tablighi Jamaat incident which made national headlines,
"....the media, instead of exercising restraint, reported the entire incident with a communal colour with phrases such as Corona Jihad, Corona Terrorism, Islamic Insurrection, Corona Bomb etc. It was thus apparent that the unfortunate incident of the Tablighi Jamaat was being used to demonise and blame the entire Muslim community"
This, the plea states was done by the ruling Government to distract the public from the failures of its own policies.
Further, the plea states that a number of several fake news and videos circulated on different social media platforms, showing muslims in a bad light.
"...social media was flooded with such videos which resulted in collected demonisation and vilification of the Muslim community because of its religious identity"
It is averred that the "propaganda" in a time when the country is fighting the pandemic should be harmony and unity among citizens of Indian but shockingly, Arvind Kejriwal, in his capacity as chief minister of Delhi, supported by reporting in his tweets and other modes, deliberately used a separate caption "masjid markaz".
"It is submitted that such reporting has triggered communal antagonism and has also perpetrated hate and resulted in fissiparous tendencies gaining foothold and affected the communal harmony..."