In the most interesting court action, the Allahabad High Court has taken suo moto cognizance of the “situation in Uttar Pradesh”. It did so because of articles published in the New York Times (January 2nd, 2020) and the Telegraph (dated 29th December 2019).
While referring certain news items and details published in New York Times, in its Edition dated 2nd January, 2020 and The Telegraph dated 29th December, 2019, it is alleged that the situation in the State of Uttar Pradesh is antithetical to core constitutional values and warrants interference of this Court”.Livelaw
The division bench of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Vivek Varma took an email written by a Bombay High Court Advocate Ajay Kumar as a PIL and sent a notice to the UP Government.
“Let a notice be issued to the State of Uttar Pradesh as to why necessary directions as prayed be not issued,” the court directed.LiveLaw
An article in the Indian Express (Lucknow) was also recognized.
Mr. S.F.A Naqvi has been appointed as the senior advocate and Attorney Ramesh Kumar has been taken in as the Amicus Curiae (friend of the court) by the court.
The matter will be heard on January 16, 2020.
Those who often say that what is written in foreign media, specifically New York Times, Washington Post and Guardian is not relevant to Indians, since anycase it is false will probably want to note this unusual situation where an article in the foreign paper is becoming the basis of a suo moto action within an Indian court. I am not discussing about the validity or otherwise of the court action, but that some media house outside India has become a trigger for legal action within India. And, a media house which is known to peddle fake news about India.
So from now onwards, Indians not only need to be concerned about what happens and is discussed within the country, but how foreign media, a lot of it with agendas that may not align with India’s national interest and have owners who may have an axe to grind against the current dispensation (Washington Post for example is owned by Amazon), portrays globally.
The communication by the government can no longer be confined within the country, but also outside.