Tablighi Jamaat Case: Freedom Of Speech And Expression Most Abused Right In Recent Times, Says Supreme Court
Birds fly over the Supreme Court of India in New Delhi, India. (Photographer: T. Narayan/Bloomberg)

Tablighi Jamaat Case: Freedom Of Speech And Expression Most Abused Right In Recent Times, Says Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court on Thursday said freedom of speech and expression is the most abused right in recent times.

A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde, which was hearing pleas of Jamiat Ulama-I- Hind and others alleging that a section of media was spreading communal hatred over Tablighi Jamaat congregation during the onset of Covid-19 pandemic, pulled up the Centre for its "evasive" and "brazen" affidavit on the issue.

Also read: Foreign Attendees Of Tablighi Jamaat Made Scapegoat, Says Bombay High Court

Freedom of speech and expression is the most abused right in recent times, the apex court said.

The bench observed this when senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for Jamaat, said the Centre in its affidavit has stated that petitioners are trying to muzzle freedom of speech and expression.

To this, the bench said, “They are free to make any averment in their affidavit, like you are free to make any argument you want.”

The bench was irked over the fact that instead of secretary of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, an additional secretary filed the affidavit which contained unnecessary and nonsensical averments with regard to media reporting in Tablighi Jamaat issue.

Also read: Tablighi Jamaat: Delhi Court Dismisses 35 Foreigners’ Pleas Against Framing Of Charges

You cannot treat this court the way you are doing in this case, said the bench, also comprising Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.

The apex court sought an affidavit from the I&B secretary with details of steps taken in the past to stop motivated media reporting in such cases.

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