New Delhi, September 12 (IANS): The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted interim protection against arrest to a retired colonel of the Indian Army who was booked by Manipur Police for authoring a book allegedly twisting the state’s history.
A bench, comprising Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, Justices J.B. Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, ordered that no coercive step will be taken against the petitioner till the next date of listing.
“This book was published a year before…. There is not a word about communities… It is all about military tactics,” submitted senior advocate Anand Grover before the bench.
The bench asked: “Why does everyone come under (Article) 32?”
“In Manipur, houses and offices of lawyers are ransacked and two of them are now in a camp of CRPF,” Grover said.
“Your lordships may protect him if your lordship's conscience so permits,” said Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta, who was present in the courtroom, adding that a report may be called from the Registrar General whether the Manipur High Court is functioning regularly or not.
“One section is bringing everything here (in the Supreme Court) and creating a picture that the courts (in Manipur) are closed…(In Manipur HC) lawyers are appearing physically and virtually. There is something more going on. There is a ‘pattern’ from a particular section, not this individual,” SG Mehta said.
The top court had also directed the petitioner to file averments through an affidavit stating that it is not possible or difficult for him to engage a lawyer to institute proceedings before the High Court in Imphal.
On Monday, it asked Solicitor General Tushra Mehta to obtain instructions from the Manipur government by September 15 on transferring the plea filed by the members of the Editors Guild of India seeking quashing of FIRs to the Delhi High Court.
The matter is likely to be taken up for further hearing on September 22.