The Supreme Court, on Friday, April 21, asked the Tamil Nadu government to justify its invocation of the National Security Act (NSA) against YouTuber Manish Kashyap in the matter. He has been booked in multiple cases and was arrested for circulating fake videos of migrant labourers being attacked in the state. A bench comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha also asked the Tamil Nadu government not to move Manish from the Madurai jail.
"Why NSA for this? Why this vengeance against this man?" the CJI asked senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who appeared for the state. Sibal said that Manish made fake videos claiming that migrant labourers from Bihar were being attacked in Tamil Nadu.
Senior advocate Siddhartha Dave, representing Manish, submitted before the bench that NSA has been invoked against him and pointed out that there were six FIRs in Tamil Nadu and three in Bihar, registered against Manish. He sought clubbing of all the FIRs registered against him in Tamil Nadu with those lodged in Bihar.
Opposing the transfer of FIRs, Sibal said Manish has 60 lakh followers on YouTube and is a politician who contested elections, not a journalist. He said Manish had conducted interviews in Tamil Nadu, while justifying the registration of FIRs in Tamil Nadu.
The Bihar government counsel resisted the transferring of the FIRs to Bihar, arguing that they are different offences and Manish is a "habitual offender". The bench said it is inclined to transfer First Information Reports (FIR) registered against the petitioner in Tamil Nadu to Bihar.
The top court allowed the petitioner's counsel to amend the plea to challenge his detention under NSA, and also issued notice to Tamil Nadu and Bihar governments. The bench also asked the Tamil Nadu government not to move him from the prison in Madurai, and scheduled the matter for further hearing on April 28. On April 11, the top court had issued notice to the Union, Tamil Nadu, and Bihar governments on Manish's plea seeking the clubbing of the FIRs lodged against him. Sibal had said that it is not a simple matter as Manish has already been detained under the NSA, and sought time to file a reply in the matter.
Earlier this month, Manish had appeared before the Madurai district court, which remanded him to judicial custody for 15 days. Manish and others are facing cases for allegedly circulating fake videos of migrant workers being attacked in Tamil Nadu.
(With IANS inputs)