HC Notice To Govt On Journalist Gowhar Geelani’s Plea Against Transfer Of Case

SRINAGAR: The J&K High Court on Wednesday issued a notice to government on a petition filed by journalist and author Gowhar Geelani, challenging the transfer of the case to Saddar police station registered against him by the cyber police station for social media posts last month.

The notice was waived on behalf of the government by the senior additional advocate general B A Dar. “He shall file objections by the next date of hearing (on May 28) with a copy in advance to the counsel for the petitioner (Geelani),” a bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey said.

Advocate Salih Pirzada, resenting Geelani, submitted that while the petition seeking quashment of FIR (No.11/2020) registered at Cyber Police Station was pending before the court, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir passed an order on April 22 to transfer the investigation of the case to Police Station Sadder.

With regard to the FIR, Salih submitted that Cyber Police Station has no jurisdiction to register and investigate the case relating to offences falling under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 and Indian Penal Code, as the concerned Police Station has been declared as Police Station for the purpose of registration and investigation of the case(s) regarding the offences falling under provisions of Information Technology, Act, 2000 and other allied offences.

“The offences made in the FIR are beyond the powers as vested in terms of Section 78 of the Information Technology Act, 2000,” he said.

Senior AAG B A Dar had previously submitted that on the threshold of the investigation, the Court has no power to interfere in the matter, as the same is beyond its scope in terms of Section 482 of Criminal Procedure Code.

He had previously submitted that all the grounds of challenge are vague and without any merit. “The merits of the case cannot be discussed or raised while questioning the FIR,” he had said as regards quashment plea by Geelani, adding, “On registration of the case, the Cyber Police Station, Kashmir Zone, has forwarded the matter to the Supervisory authority of Police and the Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, transferred the case to Police Station, Sadder, for investigation in terms of order dated 22.04.2020, therefore, the jurisdiction aspect of the matter is not available to the petitioner to seek quashing of FIR, which otherwise also, cannot be a ground for quashing of FIR.”  (GNS)

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