Tripura violence: SC to hear plea challenging UAPA against journalist, lawyers

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Tripura violence: SC to hear plea challenging UAPA against journalist, lawyers

The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear a petition of a journalist and two advocates against Tripura Police’s decision to book them under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for an alleged report on the recent violence in the case. The court, however, is yet to give a date for the hearing.

In their petition, the journalist and the advocates alleged that the police move was an attempt to “monopolise the flow of information” by the state. “If the quest for truth and reporting thereof itself is criminalised, then the victim in the process is the idea of justice,” they said.

Appearing for the petitioners, advocate Prashant Bhushan said that the two lawyers and the scribe who had gone there on a fact finding mission have been proceeded against by the Tripura Police under the UAPA for their social media posts, and an FIR has been lodged and a notice under the CrPC has been issued to them.

“Why did they not go to the high court? You go before the high court,” the bench led by Chief Justice of India N V Ramana observed initially and later agreed to consider listing the plea after the lawyer said that besides seeking relief of quashing of the FIR, the plea also challenged the constitutional validity of some UAPA provisions. Meanwhile, the top court said that no political party should be prevented from campaigning and pursuing its electoral rights in the local body polls.

The court made the observations while directing the Tripura government to make all arrangements to maintain law and order for unimpeded right of political participation in the municipal elections.

A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud, Surya Kant and Vikram Nath also issued notice to the state government on the plea of Trinamool Congress (TMC) party and its Rajya Sabha MP Sushmita Dev seeking security to its workers and representatives alleging wide scale violence on the party workers during the upcoming local body polls.