The Indian Supreme Court has said that freedom of speech and expression is the most abused right in recent times.
A bench headed by Chief Justice, S A Bobde, which was hearing pleas of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind and others saying that a section of media was spreading communal hatred over Tableeghi Jamaat congregation during the onset of COVID-19 pandemic, pulled up the Indian government for its evasive and brazen affidavit on the issue.
The bench observed this when senior advocate, Dushyant Dave, appearing for Jamaat, said India in its affidavit has stated that petitioners are trying to muzzle freedom of speech and expression.
To this, the bench said, they are free to make any averment in their affidavit, like you are free to make any argument you want.
The bench was irked over the fact that instead of secretary of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, an additional secretary filed the affidavit which contained unnecessary and nonsensical averments with regard to media reporting in Tableeghi Jamaat issue.
“You cannot treat this court the way you are doing in this case,” said the bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.
The apex court sought an affidavit from the I&B secretary with details of steps taken in the past to stop motivated media reporting in such cases.
In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has advanced a series of policies promoting a Hindu nationalist narrative openly hostile toward Muslims, says American magazine ‘Foreign Policy’.
The magazine says that Narendra Modi’s policies are fuming extremism in India.—KMS