Responding to a plea that claimed that New Delhi’s Tablighi Jamaat event was being used by the media to “demonise” the entire Muslim community, the Supreme Court said Monday it cannot gag the media and asked petitioner Jamaat-Ulema-I-Hind to make the Press Council of India (PCI) a party in the plea.
The apex court also said it will hear the plea later, after Press Council has been made a party in the plea.
Plea against alleged demonisation of Muslim community over Tablighi Jamaat issue: SC says can’t gag media. Asks petitioner Jamaat-Ulema-I-Hind to make Press Council a party. To hear plea later. @IndianExpress
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Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind had filed the petition in the Supreme Court last week in the wake of reports of coronavirus cases linked to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation at New Delhi’s Nizamuddin Markaz, and the eventual targeting of Muslims across the country over this. It had sought direction to the media “to stop dissemination of fake news” in this regard.
On March 31, the Delhi Police registered an FIR against Tablighi Jamaat preacher Maulana Saad and others of members of the outfit under Section 3 of The Epidemic Diseases Act (1897) for organising the congregation at Nizamuddin West Markaz amid the coronavirus outbreak. India witnessed a surge in coronavirus cases after many attendees, who had travelled to various parts of the country, tested positive. .
The Supreme Court’s response to plea comes two days after India reacted strongly to the United Nations’ call for the government to fight “stigmatization of certain sects of people”, with an Indian representative to the body saying the remark was “highly objectionable” as “such matters are being looked after by the government, enlightened citizens and the civil society in the country”.
In its daily briefing on Monday, the Union Health Ministry said no new cases of the novel coronavirus were detected in 25 districts from 15 states of the country in the last 14 days. Health Secretary Luv Aggarwal said 796 new positive cases and 35 deaths due to the coronavirus were recorded in the last 24 hours in the country. The overall cases in the country rose to 9,152 cases with 308 deaths. The ministry also said that over two lakh tests for COVID-19 have been conducted so far and they have enough stock to conduct tests for six weeks.
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