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Cancel license of journalists who indulge in anti-social acts like blackmailing under the garb of journalism: Allahabad High Court

The Allahabad High Court denied relief to the accused journalist after the state submitted that a gang was operating in Uttar Pradesh that used to blackmail people under the guise of printing articles against them in newspapers and defaming their image in society. 

The Allahabad High Court recently ruled that the state should cancel the licenses of journalists who are found to be indulging in anti-social activities like blackmailing in the guise of journalism. Notably, a single judge bench of Justice Shamim Ahmed gave the directions while refusing to quash criminal proceedings against a journalist named Puneet Mishra and a newspaper distributor booked under various sections of the IPC and SC/ST Act.

The High Court denied relief to the accused journalist after the state submitted that a gang was operating in Uttar Pradesh that used to blackmail people under the guise of printing articles against them in newspapers and defaming their image in society. 

The court said, “The matter is very serious and the State Machinery should take cognizance of the same and cancel the license of such journalists if they are found operating in such type of antisocial activities in the garb of their license. There are machinery with the State government which is capable to stop such type of activities which is being operated in case if the case is found to be true.” 

During the proceedings, advocate Rajat Pratap Singh representing Puneet Mishra, argued that the accused had been falsely implicated in the case and that the charge sheet was also filed without proper investigation. Singh claimed that the journalist was falsely implicated as he had published a news item about the illegal cutting of a tree. He also argued that no offense was made out under the SC/ST Act. 

However, the State opposed his arguments and submitted that a prima facie offense was made out and that the journalist had failed to produce the Information Department-issued license before the High Court.

After considering the arguments, the High Court ruled that no interference was required in the matter as a prima facie cognizable offense was made out. 

It added, “In the present case, the applicant, who claims to be the Journalist in the newspaper, namely, Swatantra Bharat is not able to show any document that he is recognized by the said newspaper and even after query made by this court the applicants and their counsel fails to show any such paper.” 

In the present case, a charge sheet was filed against the accused journalist on 9th October 2023 under sections 384, 352, 504, 505 of the IPC and 3(2)(Va) and 3(1) (S) of the SC/ST Act. The case pertains to the jurisdiction of Beniganj Police Station in the Hardoi district of Uttar Pradesh. 

The accused-applicant had filed the instant application under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. seeking that the court quash the chargesheet, cognizance order of Hardoi’s session court passed on 16th April 2024, and the entire sessions’ case. However, after the arguments, the Allahabad High Court noted that it did not find any justification to entertain the present case and that the present application lacks merits and is hereby dismissed, the court order said.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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