High Court refuses to entertain PIL seeking direction to restrain media on Kairana coverage


The Allahabad High Court has reportedly refused to entertain a PIL seeking direction to restrain the electronic and print media from alleged glorification of the Kairana incident which may disturb communal harmony.

Instead, according to PTI, the HC left it open to the authorities concerned to take appropriate action or the aggrieved person to approach the appropriate forum, if any such action was required be taken under the law.

A division bench of justices Amreshwar Pratap Sahi and Shamsher Bahadur Singh passed this order on 23 June on a PIL filed by a journalist impleading major political parties and news channels as well as the Press Council of India (PCI).

Hukum Singh, who first alleged Hindus were forced to leave Kairana had later said it was a mkistake
Hukum Singh, who first alleged Hindus were forced to leave Kairana had later said it was a mistake

“We have considered the submissions raised and we find that in absence of statutory obligations, the nature of the advisory or administrative direction as sought may not be possible at this stage on the material placed on record but in the event any such publication of views, ideas or news either by electronic or print media is likely to cause communal disharmony, then it would be appropriate for respective central and the state governments through their authorities as well as the PCI to issue such necessary instructions that may be required for the purpose of containing any such situation that is being apprehended,” the court said.

The petition had alleged that the entire atmosphere which had been created in connection to a particular incident at Kairana amounts to a clear violation of ethical principles pronounced by PCI and also leads to a situation, which may precipitate communal tensions.

The allegations were about the alleged exodus of certain members of a particular community from Kairana that were being “glorified” and were being “politically utilised” to the detriment of the public at large in order to disturb communal harmony.

Kairana had hit media headlines recently after a BJP MP said that Hindus were being forced to flee the village by Muslims. However, Hukum Singh soon made spectacular U-turn and said that giving communal colour to his allegation was a mistake.

Even the businessman whose name was flaunted by Singh had later contradicted the claim saying he was surprised to find his name in the list.

The BJP leaders, however, continued to raise Kairana issue despite a clarification from their MP. This, according to analysts, is being done deliberately to extract the much-needed electoral mileage ahead of next year’s crucial assembly elections.

The party had yielded rich dividends by allegedly stoking communal tension in Muzaffarnagar months before the Lok Sabha polls. The communal violence in Muzaffarnagar had left more than 60 people killed.

The party went on to win 71 out of 80 Lok Sabha seats when the general elections were held just few months after the communal violence.

There are allegations that the saffron party is keen to replicate the same model this time around.