Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Wednesday directed police not to take coercive steps till June 24 against author and senior journalist Gowhar Geelani in any matter.
The direction was passed after the petitioner’s counsel, Salih Pirzada, submitted that Geelani was being harassed even though he was cooperating with the investigating agencies.
He also submitted that the petitioner had strong merit in seeking quashment of FIR no.11/2020 registered at Cyber police station, Kashmir zone, and questioning the order dated 22 April passed by IGP Kashmir, whereby the investigation of the case was transferred to Police station Sadder.
He also said that in the event the proceedings in the FIR were not stayed, the petitioner would bear irreparable loss.
The relief sought was objected to by the government’s counsel BA Dar on the grounds that the matter was under investigation by police and the court cannot interfere in the police investigation in a matter filed under Section 482 of the criminal procedure code (CrPc).
Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey after hearing both the counsels said, “That since the investigation is underway for the last two more months, seemingly petitioner has not shown any reluctance in remaining present with the investigation authorities as and when asked, therefore police is directed not to adhere to coercive method till next date of hearing before the bench.”
Earlier, counsel Pirzada had challenged the FIR registered at the cyber police wing on the grounds that the cyber police had no jurisdiction to investigate offences beyond the purview of Information Technology Act 2000.
It was submitted by the counsel that since the FIR was registered for an offence under a special statute of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act 1967 read with section 505 Indian Penal code (IPC), it “is unrelated to the trappings of offences under the IT Act and therefore the FIR and the investigation lacks jurisdiction.”
In another plea he had also challenged the order passed by Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir whereby investigation of the case was transferred to Sadder Police station.
The court was told by the counsel that the petitioner has been alleged by the police to be ‘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 mobilisation 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 farcial and absurd cannot be countenanced under law,” Counsel Pirzada had told the court.gowh