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Supreme Court dismisses PIL against arrests over posters critical of Centre’s vaccination policy

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The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a PIL as withdrawn by the advocate over details of FIRs filed against people who had put up posters and pamphlets asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi why Covid vaccines were exported instead of vaccinating people in India.

The bench of Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice M.R. Shah observed that it is difficult to understand the affidavit filed by counsel Pradeep Kumar Yadav because of the way it has been filed. Justice Chandrachud read the affidavit wherein it was mentioned that the petitioner advocate went to several police stations and found discrepancies in the FIR. The bench further stated, “How can we start or entertain a petition on your instance that so and so persons are named in FIR, we can’t quash FIRs on behest of 3rd party. You withdraw this, otherwise it would give wrong precedent under Criminal Law.”

Advocate Yadav had appeared in-person seeking the indulgence of the apex court to intervene in the illegal arrest of labour contractors for their speech and expression by way of pamphlets affixed on the wall which spread over social media.  

According to the petition, some of the posters stated, “Modi ji humare bachon ka vaccine videsh kyon bhej diya?” The petition further states that police said three FIRs were also registered at Bhajanpura, Khajuri Khas and Dayalpur police stations. “In one of the cases, a 19-year-old youth, Sanjay Kumar, was arrested. He was asked to paste posters by someone who gave him Rs 400. Police are trying to find out who this was,” said an officer as stated in the petition.

Also Read: Rakesh Asthana as Delhi Police chief: Contempt plea filed in Supreme Court against PM, HM, MHA

In the last hearing, Justice Chandrachud observed that this case is extremely broad and no specific details of FIRs are mentioned, and the court cannot therefore give a general direction. He addressed the petitioner-advocate to at least provide some details or names in the FIR. Upon the request of the petitioner, the bench directed him to produce the number/detail of FIRs registered in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi within a week.

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