Srinagar, April 24 (GNS): Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Monday issued a notice to the government on a petition filed by journalist and author Gowhar Geelani, seeking quashing of FIR filed by police against him for social media posts.
A bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey also sought a status report of the investigation by police as regards the case filed initially by Cyber Police Station and later transferred to Police Station, Sadder, for investigation following an order by Inspector General of Police on April 22.
In his petition filed by him through advocate Salih Pirzada, Gowhar Nazir Shah has sought quashing of the FIR (No. 11/2020), registered at Cyber Police Station, Kashmir Zone. Salih submitted that Cyber Police Station has no jurisdiction to register and investigate the case relating to offences falling under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 and Indian Penal Code, as the concerned Police Station, has been declared as Police Station for the purpose of registration and investigation of the case(s) regarding the offences falling under provisions of Information Technology, Act, 2000 and other allied offences.
“The offence made in the FIR are beyond the powers as vested in terms of Section 78 of the Information Technology Act, 2000,” he said.
He submits that the duty of the officer Incharge of Police Station for registration of FIR has to be satisfied regarding the information disclosing the cognizable offence and is subject to two
Conditions—the Police Officer should have reason to suspect the commission of a cognizable offence and he should subjectively satisfy himself as to whether there is sufficient ground for entering on an investigation.
Senior Additional advocate General B. A. Dar, submitted that the Gowhar and his counsel have not complied with the requirement of Standing Operation Procedure (SOP) in vogue while dealing with urgent matters during lockdown period arising out of spread of Coronavirus, as no copy of petition has been furnished to him by e-mail in advance and no consent sought for listing of the matter.
He, as per Global News Service, submitted that on the threshold of the investigation, 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 all the grounds of challenge are vague and without any merit. “The merits of the case cannot be discussed or raised while questioning the FIR,” he said, adding, “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, therefore, the jurisdiction aspect of the matter is not available to the petitioner to seek quashing of FIR, which otherwise also, cannot be a ground for quashing of FIR.” After hearing both the parties, the court issued notice to the government. “Status report/response be filed by or before the next date of hearing,” the court said and ordered listing of the case on 20 May 2020.