Agartala: The Tripura High Court on Monday rejected an appeal made by the Advocate General to prevent media from reporting the court proceedings in the case of West Tripura district magistrate (DM) case.
Referring to the request made by Advocate General Siddhartha Shankar Dey to prevent media from reporting court proceedings with apprehension that certain quarters may deliberately sensationalize the issue, the Tripura High Court said, “We are not inclined to issue any such general gag order. Freedom of press is a valuable fundamental right and relates to the right of the people of access to information. Such right cannot be lightly curtailed.”
The division bench comprising Chief Justice AA Kureshi and Justice SG Chattopadhyay were hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) and writ petition filed against Dr Shailesh Kumar Yadav for allegedly assaulting, abusing and misusing his power when the AG raised the issue before the court.
The High Court, however, assured the AG of two things. “One, no amount of sensationalization of the issue from any quarter would hamper our judgment and secondly, if any instance of any publication which is either contemptuous or is defamatory is brought to our notice, the same can always be dealt with on case to case basis. In any case, we expect the media to be responsible and publish the news as truthfully as the events have taken place,” the Chief Justice AA Kureshi said.
The Court also observed that the said Tripura DM has made public statements on more occasions than one about the alleged incident and said, “We would request him not to go public with respect to the said incident till further orders.”
The now relieved West Tripura DM Shailesh Kumar Yadav shot into the limelight after a video of him thrashing a groom for flouting the night curfew went viral on April 27. Following this, the DM faced major backlash from politicians, netizens and locals, while many others showed their support for the officer.
In the video, the Tripura DM was seen thrashing the groom by his collar, beating the priest and using unparliamentary language against relatives.
Yadav had appeared before a committee consisting of IAS officers Kiran Gitte and Tanushree Debbarma on Friday. The duo will submit their report to the Chief Secretary after completing the inquiry, after which the report would be handed over to Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb.
After appearing before the committee, Yadav had told EastMojo: “It is my duty to enforce the law and maintain order for the preventive spread of COVID-19. That’s what I did that night and I stand by whatever I did.”
Subsequently on Sunday, Yadav wrote to chief secretary Manoj Kumar, requesting to be relieved of his post with immediate effect.
“In the interest of an impartial enquiry I request for relinquishment of my charge as DM and collector of West Tripura district,” Yadav wrote.
His request was accepted by the chief secretary on Monday.
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