MOHAMMAD SALIM PANDITH Vs. STATE OF J&K
LAWS(J&K)-2020-10-10
HIGH COURT OF JAMMU AND KASHMIR
Decided on October 07,2020

Mohammad Salim Pandith Appellant
VERSUS
STATE OF JANDK Respondents




JUDGEMENT

Sanjay Dhar,J. - (1.)Petitioner has filed the instant petition under Section 561-A of the Jammu and Kashmir Criminal Procedure Code seeking quashment of FIR No.26/2018 registered by Police Station, Kothibagh Srinagar, for offence under Section 505(1)(b) RPC.
(2.)It appears from the record that associations of some travel agents had lodged a complaint with SHO, P/S Kothibagh, Srinagar, alleging therein that on 03.04.2018 petitioner had published a news item in daily Times of India titled "Stone pelters in J &K now target tourists, four women injured". As per the complaint, the news item is based on false information and malicious intention with a view to disrupt peaceful tourist season and to create an atmosphere of threat amongst citizens of the Country. The complainant went on to allege that the incident reported in the news item had, in fact, not taken place at all. On the basis of this complaint, FIR No.26/2018 for offence under Section 505(1)(b) of RPC was registered with Police Station, Kothibagh, Srinagar.
(3.)It is contended in the petition that though the incident of stone pelting on tourists was denied by Police Media Centre but it has, in its media briefing, admitted that two tourists got minor injuries on 1 st April when the vehicles in which they were travelling came in the middle of an area where stone pelting was going on. It is further contended that the allegations made in the complaint do not make out any offence against the petitioner and, therefore, the FIR is liable to be quashed. The petitioner has also contended that he is a renowned and reputed news reporter of a premier and prestigious newspaper of the Country and he had under a bona fide belief and in good faith reported the incident of stone pelting on tourists, which incident has also been acknowledged by the police, therefore, registration of FIR against him amounts to abuse of power and an attempt to gag freedom of speech and expression of the petitioner.
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