Samriddhi Sakunia and Swarna Jha were booked over their story about a mosque that was burnt in Tripura’s Gomati district amid communal violence in the state.

Tripura violence: SC stays further proceedings in FIRs against HWNews journalists Samriddhi Sakunia and Swarna Jha
news Court Wednesday, December 08, 2021 - 14:48

The Supreme Court on Wednesday, December 8, issued notice to Tripura government and police on a petition filed by three journalists of HW Network, against whom FIRs were lodged in connection with their news reports of the recent communal violence in the state. A bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud also stayed any coercive proceedings against the journalists Samriddhi Sakunia and Swarna Jha, and any other proceedings connected with the FIRs lodged till the next date of hearing. The top court has directed the state to file a response within four weeks.

Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, representing the petitioners, contended before the bench that journalists were reporting on the issue and then there was an FIR. He added that journalists have been granted bail, but then there was another FIR. "This is really untenable and not justified", Luthra submitted.

According to LiveLaw, Senior Advocate Siddharth Luthra, on behalf of the petitioners, submitted, "The journalists were picked up and then there was the FIR. They have now been granted bail. But another FIR is also registered. The difficulty that is faced is that you report the news, one FIR is registered, and then you register a second really to say that we have now established that in the first FIR, the journalists are wrong. This is really untenable and not justified.‚ÄĚ

The petitioners have termed the FIRs as an attempt to harass the press and moved the Supreme Court seeking quashing of the case.

Justice Chandrachud said the court will issue notice in the matter and there will be stay on all further proceedings of the FIR. "Counter to be filed within 4 weeks and liberty to serve the counsel of Tripura", said the bench.

The media company Theos Connect, which operates the digital news portal HW News Network, and two of its journalists Samriddhi Sakunia and Swarna Jha and its associate editor Arti Ghargi had moved the Supreme Court in this regard.

Delhi-based journalists Samriddhi Sakunia and Swarna Jha were arrested earlier in November 14, after being named in an FIR by Tripura police based on a complaint filed by a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) activist. The VHP activist had alleged that the duo had maligned the image of Tripura government through their reporting about a mosque that was burnt in Gomati district of Tripura, 

Read: Tripura violence: Press Club of India urges cops to drop charges against two journos

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