Written by: Ishita Pal (Intern)
Edited by: Anubhav Yadav (Content Head & Developer)
On 19th April 2018, a journalist called Asif Iqbal Naik’s story was published in a newspaper named Early Times. In this story ‘Father of 5 brutally tortured by Kishtwar Police’; he wrote and highlighted the physical and mental torture done on the victim by Kishtwar Police to extract the confession. The victim’s name was Akhter Hussain son of Ali Mohammad Hajam. At that time, an illegal expectation of connection was developed by the police of Kishtwar with the disappearance of Tariq Hussain, the missing person for the last five weeks in that time. The kin of Akhter said he was kept in illegal detention by the police initially for 27 days after they picked him on March 18. The family members of the victim alleged that during the earlier detention, victim Akhter was tortured brutally by the police of Kishtwar. Naik said that Kishtwar Police registered the FIR without doing any kind of earlier enquiry. Naik also said that he was doing his duty only. Kishtwar Police tried to defame them with harassment to stop him from publishing news against Kishtwar Police. Other side, respondents said that Naik wanted to instigate the people of Kishtwar against the Kishtwar Police.
Case Name: Asif Iqbal Naik Vs State of J&K and Others
OBSERVATION OF COURT
- How the FIR registered, shows crystal clear that there was mala fide on the side of respondents by choosing the harsh method of silencing the petitioner as well as attacking and harassing the press and journalism.
- Under section 499 RPC, the petitioner had published the story based on the statement of the cousin and brother of Akhter Hussain, which is not an offence.
- Under section 504 RPC, no allegation is there against the petitioner as he broke no public peace at all. So, it’s not a valid offence.
- As well as under section 505 of RPC, the petitioner had published the news according to the information given by the kin of Akhter Hussain. He hadn’t committed any offence against state or public tranquillity.
GUIDELINES ISSUED BY COURT
- According to the court, nothing is there in the FIR prima facie; Naik only performed his duty for which he has right. Journalists have the right to work according to the incident happening and with proof, they can publish the story also.
- The court showed some relevant case laws regarding the incident. They are – The case of Balwant Singh vs State of Punjab (the year is 1995); the case of Vinod Dua vs Union of India (the year is 2021) and the other case of State of Haryana vs Bhajanlal (the year 1992).
- The type of process and manner by which the challenged FIR was lodged; it is reflecting that there is mala fide on the side of the respondents. They very clearly used a different path or technique to stop from publishing the news too much and to harass the person, Naik for doing so.
- A fact is that the FIR was lodged against only the journalist and not against that person who has disclosed the things to a journalist; this shows malice on the part of respondents.
- So, the FIR which was registered by Kishtwar Police Station on the date of 12th May 2018 for the reason of committing the offences under sections 500, 504, 505 RPC is revoked.