Why are you mute spectator to hate speech on TV channels: Supreme Court asks Modi govt

News Network
September 21, 2022

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New Delhi, Sept 21: The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Union government as to why it was standing as a "mute spectator" to hate speeches while also expressing displeasure over mainstream television channels for running such shows and programmes.

The court asked where the country is heading to, as it put a poser to the Union government as to why it was treating the issue as trivial one.

"Hate speech poisons the very fabric of our country, it can't be permitted. Political parties will come and go but the nation and institution of free press will endure. We should have true freedom, and the government should come forward to take a stand," a bench of Justices K M Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy said.

Without naming TV channels, the court said freedom of press is important, "but we should know where to draw the line". Nowadays, anchors don't allow their guests to speak, run them down, mute them and become discourteous too, the bench said.

"All this is going in the name of freedom of speech. It is sad if nobody making them accountable," the bench said, adding the free speech also included the right of the viewers.

"Until institutional mechanism is put in place, people will continue like this. We should have a proper legal framework," the bench added.

The bench specifically asked the Centre if it is contemplating any legislation to control hate speech in terms of the Law Commission of India's 267 th report which suggested amendment to the IPC and Criminal Procedure Code.

The court was hearing a batch of PILs including by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay for framing a law to control hate speech and rumour mongering.

Deliberating upon the role of media including the Television Channels, the court referred to previous SC judgements in Vishakha and Tehseen Poonawalla cases to saying some guidelines could be framed after considering the Centre's response.

Citing the role of media, the court said, it is not to take orders from anyone if it is truly independent.

"You (media) should foster constitutional values, everybody is part of this republic. Everybody belongs to this one nation," the court said, adding hate speech can take place in various forms like running a slow campaign against a community.

The bench said the Union government should not take up the matter as adversarial and take it up as an opportunity to bring out some legislation.

After hearing Additional Solicitor General K M Nataraj and advocate Sanjay Tyagi for the Union government and senior advocate Sanjay Hegde, and others, the court asked the Centre to file a response within two week.

The court asked Hegde to assist it by collating points from writ petitions filed in the matter.

The Centre, on its part, said following the top court's order of July 21, it had received response from only 14 states on the issue.

The court posted the matter for further hearing on November 23.

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News Network
September 23,2022

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Mangaluru, Sept 23: Three days after engineering graduate Maaz Muneer Ahmed was arrested by the Shivamogga Police on suspicion of his involvement in terror activities, his father Muneer Ahmed died of cardiac arrest at a hospital in Mangaluru today. 

The deceased is son of former Congress leader and Thirthahalli local body’s former member late Sabjan Sab. 

Maaz Muneer was arrested by Shivamogga Police on September 19 on charges of having links with the banned terrorist organisation – ISIS. It is said his father was hurt and disturbed over the arrest of his son.

Muneer Ahmed is a native of Thirthahalli. The family had moved to Mangaluru five years ago. Maaz did study M. Tech in Mangaluru and he had been working as a delivery boy for a food delivery company.

Shivamogga Police presented Maaz Muneer before a judge in Shivamogga on Friday and got permission for his travel to attend his father’s final rites. 

Shivamogga SP B.M. Laxmi Prasad said Maaz Muneer would take part in the final rites. 

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News Network
September 26,2022

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New Delhi, Sept 26: The mother of the 19-year-old receptionist, whose murder sparked massive protests in Uttarakhand, has claimed her daughter was hastily cremated, and she never got to see her body. She has accused the administration of tricking her into going to a hospital on the pretext of taking her to her daughter.

News reports had earlier said the mother was admitted to a hospital as she was unwell. However, a video has now surfaced where she has claimed she was fine and was ferried to a hospital on false pretext.

"The took my husband along forcibly, but didn't take me. They brought me here from the forest where I live, saying I will see my daughter," the visibly upset mother could be heard complaining in the video shot in the hospital.

She said she kept asking where they were taking her, and they reassured her, saying they were taking her to her daughter. 

"Doctors then put me in a wheelchair. I asked why was it needed but they took me to a hospital. They then forcibly put me on intravenous sugar solution and started recording a video," she said.

Narrating her ordeal, she said four-five people had come to her and said they would take her to the cremation site. "I said I am her mother, I won't do anything until I see her. I said I won't budge until you show me my daughter. I wasn't unwell at all. They tricked me into coming here. I was sitting at the civic body's office. This is just for show, they have betrayed us," she said.

The teen receptionist was cremated last evening amid massive protests against the police for alleged slow action. The family had also raised questions on the government action in the case.

The family and protestors had initially refused to cremate the body, questioning the demolition of the resort where she worked. They said it was an attempt to destroy evidence in the case, in which the son of a senior BJP leader -- now expelled -- is the prime accused.

A provisional postmortem report stated the teen died due to drowning and that her body bore signs of injury caused by blunt force.

The teen was murdered allegedly by the hotel's owner, a BJP leader's son, and two others after she resisted their alleged attempts to push her into prostitution. Initially she was reported missing, and her body was recovered from a canal on Saturday.

Pulkit Arya, son of now expelled BJP leader Vinod Arya, resort manager Saurabh Bhaskar and assistant manager Ankit Gupta have been arrested.

Vinod Arya, former chairman of a state board with the rank of a minister, and his brother Ankit Arya, also a BJP functionary, have been expelled by the party. 

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News Network
October 3,2022

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A 7-year-old child died when an electric scooter battery, which was being charged at home, exploded in Maharashtra's Palghar. 

The boy, identified as Shabbir Ansari, breathed his last during treatment after getting critically injured in an e-scooter blast. "Case registered; further investigation initiated," Manikpur Police Station stated. 

The boy had sustained over 70 percent burns when the scooter’s battery exploded at his home. The boy and his grandmother were sleeping in the hall when the explosion took place. 

Ansari's father plugged in the EV battery for charging and woke up to shock as the battery exploded. The EV battery fire incident took place at around 4:30am on September 23. Grandmother suffered minor injuries while Ansari had over 70 percent burns and was rushed to hospital. He breathed his last on October 2.  

The media reports further claim that it was detachable 24 Ah Lithium Ferro Phosphate (LFP) battery. However, Ansari's family blames EV scooter manufacturer for 'faulty' battery.

India has been witnessing electric scooter battery fires since the onset of 2022. A few months ago, an EV fire occurred in Andhra Pradesh, where the battery of an electric two-wheeler detonated in a house, killing one person and injuring three others. The event occurred in Vijayawada, when the detachable battery of the vehicle was kept on charging in his bedroom and it suddenly exploded in the early hours when all were fast asleep.

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