Rashid Paul

Scribe moves to HC for withdrawal of FIR

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Srinagar: The High Court today issued notice to the J&K Union Territory Administration on a petition by a Kashmiri journalist, Gowhar Geelani, seeking quashment of an FIR against him by Police for allegedly indulging in unlawful activities through social media.

“Notice in main petition as well as in Crlm. Registry to supply copy of petition by PDF file to lawyer representing the administration”, directed Justice A M Magrey who heard the matter via video conferencing.

“Status report/response be filed by or before the next date of hearing”, it further directed and posted the case for further hearing on 20th of next month.

The Cyber Police Station Kashmir Zone had filed an FIR against the Kashmir based scribe under anti terror law, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for posting “incriminating” matter on social media.

The petitioner through his lawyer Salih Pirzada pleaded before the court that the Cyber Police Station, Kashmir Zone has no jurisdiction to register and investigate the case relating to offences falling under UAPA and the Indian Penal Code.

“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 in respect of certain other areas”, he submitted.

Praying for quashment of the FIR against Geelani he  submitted that the Cyber Police Station the FIR does not disclose the cognizable offence, which is the basis for registration of case by a Police Officer in terms of Section 154 of Criminal Procedure Code.

He further submitted that the information forming basis for registration of FIR for commission of offence under the provisions of UAPA do not meet the requirement of the definitions made in Section 3 of the Act of 1967.

“The ground raised in the petition is that the action of the Police is having basis on malice in law, as there is no material, which forms the basis for registration of case against a Journalist, who only performs his professional duties, as guaranteed under Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution of India”, he argued court.

The Additional Advocate General of J&K B A Dar submitted that the petitioner and his counsel have not complied with the requirement of Standing Operation Procedure in vogue while dealing with urgent matters during lockdown period arising out of spread of Coronavirus.

No copy of petition has been furnished to him by e-mail in advance and no consent sought for listing of the matter, he said.

On the threshold of the investigation, the Court has no power to interfere in the matter, as the same is beyond the scope of its powers exercised in terms of Section 482 of Criminal Procedure Code.

He further submits that all the grounds of challenge of the FIR are vague and without any merit. He further submits that merits of the case cannot be discussed or raised while questioning the FIR.

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