Supreme Court Extends Order Protecting Editors Guild Members from Coercive Action

Supreme Court Extends Order Protecting Editors Guild Members from Coercive Action
Supreme Court Extends Order Protecting Editors Guild Members from Coercive Action
Supreme Court Extends Order Protecting Editors Guild Members from Coercive Action
Supreme Court Extends Order Protecting Editors Guild Members from Coercive Action

Supreme Court Extends Order Protecting Editors Guild Members from Coercive Action

Supreme Court Extends Order Protecting Editors Guild Members from Coercive Action image/PTI

In a recent development, the Supreme Court of India has extended its order until September 15, preventing the Manipur Police from taking any coercive actions against four members of the Editors Guild of India (EGI). This order is in connection with two FIRs lodged against them, alleging various offenses, including promoting enmity between two communities.

The Bench’s Decision

A bench led by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud has decided to extend the operation of its order, which was initially passed on September 6, further protecting the EGI members. This extension was granted on the plea of the Editors Guild, and the court will reconvene on Friday to hear the case in detail.

Solicitor General’s Proposal

At the beginning of the proceedings, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the state government, proposed that the EGI members be safeguarded for an extended period. He suggested transferring the matter to the Manipur High Court, similar to how other cases have been handled.

Opposing Views

Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Shyam Divan, representing the EGI, opposed this submission. They argued that the matter should be heard in the top court since the FIRs were based on a fact-finding report.

The bench agreed to address this matter on Friday, indicating its intent to review the state government’s response at that time. Previously, on September 4, Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh had filed a police case against the EGI’s president and three other members, accusing them of attempting to “provoke clashes” in the state. A second FIR was subsequently registered against the four members, adding a charge of defamation.

No Coercive Action Ordered

Until the next listing date, the bench ordered that no coercive actions should be taken against the four petitioners in connection with the FIRs. This decision serves as a temporary shield for the EGI members while the legal proceedings continue.

Editors Guild’s Stance

On September 2, the Editors Guild published a report criticizing the internet ban in Manipur, stating that it hindered media reportage. They also condemned what they perceived as one-sided reporting by certain media outlets and alleged that the state leadership had displayed a partisan stance during the conflict.

Chief Minister’s Response

In response to these allegations, Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh described the EGI members as “anti-state, anti-national, and anti-establishment” individuals who had come to incite discord. He expressed regret that he had not been aware of their intentions earlier, vowing not to allow such individuals into the state in the future.

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