"Why should we be prosecuted at all when army invited us?", Editors Guild committee tells Supreme Court in Manipur FIRs

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"Why should I be prosecuted at all...the Manipur CM is making statements..FIRs are registered..", top court was told today

The fact-finding committee of Editors Guild of India (EGI) sent to Manipur to examine the reporting of incidents across the state by the media, today told the Supreme Court that it was invited by the army to do so.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for members of the committee- Seema Guha, Bharat Bhushan and Sanjay Kapoor, told a CJI Chandrachud bench, "We were invited by the Army..please see the letter sent to us by them.. To see how the local media was covering the situation, we have submitted a report, now penal provisions cannot be imposed on us for doing so..".

To this, CJI asked, "Why would the army invite you...".

When the matter was taken up, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed the bench that interim protection could be extended while the petitioner approached the High Court.

"Interim protection was granted, they can approach the High Court now. I have stated on affidavit that the High Court is fully functional now..", a bench also comprising Justices Narasimha and Manoj Misra was told.

When a request to approach the Delhi High Court was made by Sibal citing the situation in Manipur, the SG retorted saying, "They can approach the Manipur High Court virtually..". 


"There is full intention to make this a political issue..", the SG added when Sibal persisted.

When SG Mehta told the court there were no objections to the same, CJI Chandrachud sought for a concrete reply saying, "This is only a report submitted by them..this is not a situation where people were on ground..its a subjective opinion..you say there is no objection..".

On SG's request for some time to take instructions, Supreme Court posted the matter for further hearing on Friday.

Last week, the Supreme Court had granted interim protection to Editors Guild President Seema Mustafa, and Seema Guha, Bharat Bhushan and Sanjay Kapoor, against whom FIRs were registered in Manipur.

Senior Advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for the petitioners had told court that a petition was filed under Article 32 seeking quashing of the FIR and interim relief.

The Court was initially inclined to grant protection for a limited period of one week and asked the petitioners to avail other remedies available to them under law.

Divan, however, insisted that the protection should be for longer period citing the case of Advocate Deeksha Dwivedi.

"There are some additional factors. After the report was published on 2nd and after FIRs were registered, the Chief Minister made a statement in a press conference stating that EGI has stoked controversy by making provocative statements etc," Court was further told. 

Case Title: Seema Guha vs. State of Manipur