HC issues notice to govt on plea challenging FIR against Gowhar Geelani

HC issues notice to govt on plea challenging FIR against Gowhar Geelani

Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Saturday issued notice and called response from government on a plea seeking quashing of FIR filed by police against senior journalist Gowhar Geelani.

Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey while hearing the matter issued notice and directed government to file status report by May 20 on the issue.

The direction was passed after petitioner through his Counsel Salih Pirzada challenged the FIR on the ground that the cyber police wing has no jurisdiction to investigate the offences beyond the purview of Information Technology Act, 2000.

It was submitted by the counsel that since the FIR is registered for the offence under a special statue of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967 with section 505 Indian Penal code (IPC) which “is unrelated to the trappings of offences under the IT Act and therefore the FIR and the investigation lacks jurisdiction,” the counsel rued.

Giving reference to the decision by Kerala High Court in case titled Rajesh versus State of Kerala, Counsel Pirzada submitted that the said Court while quashing the FIR has held that the Cyber Police Station has no power to investigate the offence beyond the one arising out of the provisions of Information Technology Act, 2000.

It was told to court that the petitioner is alleged by the police for “glorifying terrorism” through his social media posts but there is no such attribution made against him in the FIR registered.

“Since the impugned FIR mentions no offending word that requires investigation and trial as such the mobilization of a criminal case on illusory grounds based on mere speculations is illegal and against the principles of criminal justice and as such the entire persecution being farcical and absurd cannot be countenanced under law,” Counsel Pirzada told the court.

Meanwhile on the other hand, Additional advocate General, B A Dar submitted that that on the threshold of the investigation, the Court has no power to interfere in the matter, as the same is beyond the scope of powers of the Court exercised in terms of Section 482 of Criminal Procedure Code.

He submitted that merits of the case cannot be discussed or raised while questioning the FIR.

He informed the court that 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. There, the jurisdiction aspect of the matter is not available to the petitioner to seek quashment of FIR, which otherwise also, cannot be a ground for quashment of FIR.

The court after hearing the parties for now declined to give interim relief of quashment of FIR but directed government to respond to the matter by 20 May.

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