8 May 2023 5:59 AM GMT
The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain the petition filed by YouTuber Manish Kashyap seeking to club the FIRs registered against him in Bihar and Tamil Nadu over spreading fake news about the attacks on Biharis in Tamil Nadu through fake videos uploaded in his YouTube channel. The bench comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha, and Justice JB Pardiwala...
The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain the petition filed by YouTuber Manish Kashyap seeking to club the FIRs registered against him in Bihar and Tamil Nadu over spreading fake news about the attacks on Biharis in Tamil Nadu through fake videos uploaded in his YouTube channel. The bench comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha, and Justice JB Pardiwala also refused to entertain his plea to quash the detention under the National Security Act over the allegations. The bench has however granted Kashyap liberty to move the High Court to seek the reliefs.
"You have a stable state, the state of Tamil Nadu. You circulate anything to create disquiet...we can't be be lending our ears to this...", CJI DY Chandrachud orally remarked during the hearing.
As soon as the matter was taken, CJI asked, "What is to be done? You produce these fake videos..."
Senior Advocate Maninder Singh, appearing for Kashyap, submitted that he had made the videos based on media reports published by certain mainstream newspapers and if he is to be arrested under NSA, then the journalists of other newspapers are also to be detained under NSA.
"If this boy has to be in jail, all journalists have to be in jail then", Singh submitted saying that the same thing was reported in newspapers like Dainik Bhaskar. He requested the bench to club all FIRs registered in Tamil Nadu and transfer them to Bihar, where the first FIR in respect of the issue was registered.
The counsel for the State of Bihar explained that the FIRs in Patna were registered with respect to different transactions - the first FIR was with respect to a video shot by him in Patna, which he uploaded by misrepresenting as shot from Tamil Nadu and alleging that Biharis are getting attacked there; the second FIR was with respect to a video shot by him from near Patna airport, with fake interviews of persons claiming as migrants who have fled from Tamil Nadu; third one was with respect to another fake video where he claimed that he was arrested by Tamil Nadu police.
The Bihar government counsel further said that Kashyap is a habitual offender and has cases for extortion and attempt to murder filed against him.
Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the State of Tamil Nadu, submitted that the petitioner has the alternate remedy of approaching the Madras High Court for seeking the clubbing of FIRs registered in Tamil Nadu. Sibal also said that the petitioner is not a journalist and was a politician who has contested the elections in Bihar.
When the bench expressed its disinclination to entertain the matter, Singh referred to the Supreme Court order which interfered with the detention of Manipur journalist Kishorchandra Wangkhemcha under the NSA. However, the bench was unmoved and the CJI orally commented that the Kashyap spread videos creating panic about a stable State.
During the last hearing, the court had questioned the State about the need for invoking NSA for such allegations. In response, Sibal said that Kashyap had over six lakh followers in social media and his videos caused widespread alarm and panic among the migrant labour community.
Later, opposing the plea for clubbing of first information reports (FIR) lodged against Kashyap over spreading fake news about attacks against Bihari migrants in Tamil Nadu, the Tamil Nadu government had told the Supreme Court that he cannot “seek the shelter of the umbrella of constitutional rights” after disturbing public order and national integrity. “Freedom of speech is not absolute, and should be exercised with caution and responsibility,” the state government had said in an affidavit while stating that Kashyap's acts affected national integrity.
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