Not Even A Whisper Of Crime In The Complaint: SC On ‘Editors Guild’ Case

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The police had registered a case against four members of the Editors Guild of India for disturbing the communal harmony between two communities during the Manipur violence, on which the members of the Editors Guild of India had approached the Supreme Court.

Now these people have got relief from the court. Also, the court has increased interim security against everyone’s arrest.

In the Editors Guild of India case, the Supreme Court said that prima facie no crime is visible in the FIR, there is not even a whisper of crime in the complaint on which the FIR was registered. Please tell how a case of IPC 153 (disturbing mutual harmony) is made in this case? The army had called EGI. They may be wrong, they may be right. How does merely giving a report constitute a crime?

The Supreme Court asked the complainant, why should not the FIR filed against EGI be cancelled. 

The Supreme Court has sought a reply in this matter within two weeks. Till then there will be a stay on action on the case. 

Also, interim relief to journalists will remain intact. Earlier, the court had stayed the arrest till September 15. 

However, the Supreme Court said that it would not cancel the FIR. We will just decide whether to send this case to Manipur High Court or Delhi High Court.

At the same time, Kapil Sibal, on behalf of the Editors Guild of India, said that his team had not gone voluntarily, but had gone on the invitation of the Indian Army. The journalists had gone there on the invitation of the army to investigate biased and unethical reporting by the local media. This case is not an FIR.

SG Tushar Mehta, on behalf of Manipur government, said that this petition is wrong. Manipur High Court is functioning. The petitioners can go to the High Court. Why can prosecution etc be debated before the High Court? 

Let us tell you that on September 6, the Supreme Court had given protection from arrest to four members of the Editors Guild of India. Also a notice was issued to Manipur government. 

The Editors Guild of India had published a report regarding caste violence in the Manipur, north-eastern state, on which an FIR was lodged by the Manipur Police. 

A bench of CJI DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Mishra issued notice to Manipur Police on the writ petition filed by members of EGI.

The Editors Guild of India told the Supreme Court that it had gone on a fact finding mission on the invitation of the Army. Speaking for EGI, Sibal said, “The Army wanted a full study on the quality of reporting by the local media. In fact, the Editors Guild had claimed that there was biased media reporting on the caste violence in Manipur. The Editors Guild members whose FIR has been registered against them, the names of Editors Guild President Seema Mustafa and three members Seema Guha, Bharat Bhushan and Sanjay Kapoor are included.

Seema Guha, Bharat Bhushan and Sanjay Kapoor visited Manipur last week and studied the media reporting here. 

The Manipur government termed the report by the Editors Guild members as fake and sponsored and registered an FIR. 

It has been stated in the FIR that wrong facts have been stated in the report. Even in July, the Manipur government had registered an FIR against three women. 

The fact finding team of these women had also described the ongoing violence in the state as sponsored by the government.

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