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'Why is govt silent': Jamiat Ulema in SC on fake news linking Tablighi Markaz with Covid-19

The actions of the media pose a serious threat to the life and liberty of Muslims across India, the petition said

Wednesday May 27, 2020 10:39 PM, ummid.com with inputs from IANS

Jamiat petition on Tablighi Markaz Coronavirus

New Delhi: Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, representing Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind (JUH), contended in the Supreme Court that fake news damage the secular fabric of the nation and broadcast of such news make outs offences under the law.

"Why is the government silent," the Jamiat submitted through its counsel.

"By communalising the issue and demonising the entire Muslim community, the actions of the media pose a serious threat to the life and liberty of Muslims across the country. The demonisation is also an infringement of the right to live with dignity which is also covered under Article 21 of the Constitution", the pleas, filed through advocate Ejaz Maqbool, said.

As the petitioner's counsel claimed reports from certain sections of the media constantly talked about Tablighi spreading coronavirus in the country, the bench replied: "We think you should add the Press Council of India (PCI) as a party to the case. It is a necessary party to this case, implead them, thereafter we will hear this."

As he urged the apex court bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy to take action against the media organizations, the bench asked the Press Council of India (PCI) what action it has taken.

'Do not let people instigate'

The apex court told the Centre's counsel that do not let people instigate, as these things later become law and order issues. The bench also sought specific reply on the alleged violation of the Cable Television (Regulation) Act by the news channels.

The bench issued notice to the Centre and the Press Council of India (PCI) asking the authorities concerned to respond on the matter within two weeks.

The apex court also directed that the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) be made a party to the pleas alleging a section of media was demonising the Muslim community in connection with the Tablighi Markaz Nizamuddin incident in Delhi.

'Implead the NBA'

"The petitioners (JUH and others) are directed to implead the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) as party respondent in the array of parties. Issue notice to all the respondents as also the newly added respondent(s)", the court said.

"Let copies of these writ petitions be served upon the respondents by the petitioners during the course of the day. Mr. K.M. Nataraj, learned Additional Solicitor General appearing for the respondent(s)-Union of India, prays for and is granted two weeks' time to file reply affidavit," it said.

The next hearing on the matter is scheduled on June 15.

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