HC stays proceedings in FIR registered by Kishtwar police against senior journalist Asif Naik,

 Jammu May 25: Coming to the rescue of aggrieved  journalist from Kishtwar Asif Naik, against whom Kishtwar police had registered an FIR , the Jammu and Kashmir High in a petition filed by the senior journalist through advocate Faheem Shokat Butt today issued a formal order staying the proceedings in case FIR No. 117/2018 U/S 500, 504 & 505 RPC dated 12-5-2018 and issued the notice to the respondents and ordered to list the case again on 11-7-201.
In the case titled Asif Iqbal Naik Vs State of Jammu and Kashmir, a petition filed U/S 561 –A Cr. Pc for quashment of FIR. No 117/2018 dated 12-5-2018 registered by police station Kishtwar U/S 500, 504, 505 RPC against the petitioner, Justic Dhiraj Singh Thakur in CRMC No. 289/2018, MP No. 1/2018 ordered that no further proceedings be taken in this FIR till further orders and issued the notice in main petition as well as MP to the respondent.
The petitioner in his petition pledges that the electronic and Print media is deemed to be the 4th pillar of democracy and voice of people and any such attempt to gag the press or electronic media would amount to infringement of right of free speech and expression as guaranteed by Article 19 of constitution of India and added that our country is governed by rule of law and an attempt to thwart the passage of free news would have potential of scuttling the democracy.
The petitioner’s counsel stated that an FIR impugned bearing No. 117/2018 Dated 12-5-2018 U/S 500, 504, 505 RPC came to be registered against the petitioner wherein it is alleged that the said publication in a local daily newspaper and on social media about brutal torture by police of a father of five which lead to his critical condition and was shifted to GMC Jammu, amounts to instigate the peace loving citizens of Kishtwar town and its vicinity to assume the forum of unlawful assembly and cause the offenses like road blockade, vandalism and destruction of public property etc.
The counsel stated that at first instance no such vandalism and destruction of public property took place and the petitioner while performing his professional duties has reported the matter regarding which he was informed by kins of detainee Akther Hussain and the said statements have also been video-graphed and are available on You Tube and the concerned MLA has also demanded the constitution of Special Investigation Team to probe the matter regarding torture of person of his constituency.
Moreover a criminal complaint dated 19-04-2018 was filed by brother of detainee Akther Hussain against respondent No. 3-5 before the court of learned CJM Kishtwar under offences 330, 331, 342, and 348 RPC wherein allegations were leveled against District Police Kishtwar for 3rd degree torture on his brother who was under custody. Thus the petitioner only reported the matter which was in public domain and has not subscribed any personal view.
The counsel of the petitioner stated that according to Police the detainee attempted to commit suicide and has confessed to the offence and this is all together a more serious matter as it is required to be probed what prompted him to end his life during custody added that the confession is mere eyewash as the same may have been taken under duress.
Petitioner’s Counsel further stated that the FIR impugned is manifestly intended with malafide and for collateral purpose to deter the petitioner to report any matter regarding District Police Kishtwar by dragging him to face unnecessary investigation and also pledged in the petition that Deputy Commissioner Kishtwar before authorizing the police on the request of Senior Superintendent of Police Kishtwar was supposed to get preliminary inquiry done under the provisions of section 196 B Cr. Pc which he has not done.
After hearing the counsel of the petitioner, Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur stayed the proceedings in the impugned FIR No. 117/2018 registered against journalist Asif Iqbal Naik and issued the notices to respondents for explaining their position in this regard.
While speaking to paigaam.in , Asif expressed full faith in the judicial system of the country and expressed satisfaction over the issue. He further stated that these are the professional hurdles one has to through in the field of journalism and he would continue to perform his duties without any fear.
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