J&K HC denies interim relief to journalist booked under UAPA, issues notice to govt

Written by Bashaarat Masood
| Srinagar |

Published: April 24, 2020 6:12:05 pm

Journalist and writer Gowhar Geelani. (File photograph)
Denying any interim relief to journalist and writer Gowhar Geelani, the J&Okay High Court on Friday issued a notice to the UT authorities in a petition filed by the journalist difficult imposition of Unlawful Activities Prevention ACT (UAPA) towards him. The court docket has listed the case for May 20.

Geelani, who was booked by the J-Okay Police under the anti-terror legislation for his social media posts had filed a petition in the court difficult the jurisdiction of the Cyber Police Station in submitting of the FIR, interim safety from arrest and quashing of the FIR. Geelani and a contract photojournalist have been booked for his or her social media posts which the police termed as “seditious, incendiary, and incriminating.”

The case got here up for listening to earlier within the day by video conferencing earlier than Justice Ali Mohammad Magray. In his petition, Geelani’s counsel Salih Peerzada challenged the jurisdiction of the Cyber Police Station to file FIR towards Geelani.

“Cyber Police Station, Kashmir Zone has no jurisdiction to register and investigate the case relating to offences falling under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 and Indian Penal Code, as the concerned Police Station has been declared as Police Station for the purpose of registration and investigation of the case(s) regarding the offences falling under provisions of Information Technology, Act, 2000 and other allied offences…,” Peerzada argued within the court docket.

Responding to Peerzada’s arguments, Senior Additional Advocate General B A Dar knowledgeable the court docket that the case towards Geelani has been shifted out of the Cyber Police Station.

“Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, transferred the case to Police Station, Sadder, for investigation in terms of order dated 22.04.2020, therefore, the jurisdiction aspect of the matter is not available to the petitioner to seek quashing of the FIR, which otherwise also, cannot be a ground for quashing of FIR,” authorities counsel Dar argued.

While the court docket didn’t present any relief to Geelani, it listed the case once more for May 20 and issued notices to the respondents.

In his petition, Geelani’s counsel Peerzada has argued that mere expression of opinion of political or apolitical in nature on a public discussion board doesn’t ipso facto represent an offence. Even because the J-Okay Police is silent on the sections invoked towards Geelani, the petition mentioned that he has been booked under part 13 of Unlawful Activities Prevention ACT (UAPA) and part 505 of Indian Penal Code.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Geelani mentioned that each one the costs towards him are baseless. “I have always condemned all forms of violence through social media,” the journalist mentioned.

In truth, Geelani was one of many first journalists within the valley to voice his opinion about younger boys becoming a member of militantcy.

“Kashmir is fast losing its precious human resource, the young boys in teens. And we can’t afford to normalize this colossal human tragedy. Mourning can’t be our permanent politics. Funerals of our young can’t be our political events. This tragedy is the outcome of the absence of meaningful sincere and clean politics,” he had tweeted final 12 months.

On Thursday, the Press Council of India condemned the FIR on Geelani: “Every citizen of this country including a journalist has the right to express their opinion which may not be palatable to many but this doesn’t give anybody the authority to strangulate such voice”.

Reacting to the court docket judgment in Geelani’s petition, former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti tweeted from her deal with run by her daughter Iltija Mufti. “No interim relief for @GowharGeelani. Couldn’t be a starker contrast between SC decision on Arnab Goswami & JK High Court’s ruling. Where should people seek justice if even judiciary is seized by national & anti national narrative?”

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