Can’t create separate avenue for scribes to come directly to apex court for quashing of FIRs: SC

New Delhi, Sep 08 (PTI):
The Supreme Court Wednesday said it does not want freedom of press to be muzzled or stifled but it cannot create a separate avenue for journalists to approach it directly for quashing of FIRs lodged against them.
The apex court stated this while hearing a plea filed by Foundation for Independent Journalism, which publishes digital news portal The Wire’, and its three journalists seeking quashing of three FIRs lodged against them in Uttar Pradesh.
A bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao asked the petitioners to approach the Allahabad High Court to seek the quashing of FIRs and granted them protection for two months.
“You go to the high court and argue for quashing. We will protect you in the interim,” said the bench, also comprising justices B R Gavai and B V Nagarathna.
“We cannot create a separate avenue for journalists to directly come to this court under Article 32 for quashing of FIRs,” the bench observed.
The top court said it understands the importance of right of free speech and “doesn’t want freedom of press to be muzzled”. The apex court told the counsel appearing for the petitioners that it will grant protection and they can approach the high court on the issue.
The plea was filed by Foundation for Independent Journalism and three journalists — Seraj Ali, Mukul Singh Chauhan and Ismat Ara — who have sought quashing of three FIRs lodged against them at Rampur, Ghaziabad and Barabanki in Uttar Pradesh as well as the proceedings arising out of them.

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