The Jammu and Kashmir High Court denied interim relief to journalist Gowhar Geelani, instead issuing a notice to the state government and listing the case for May 20.
Geelani was bookedby the cyber police on April 21 for “indulging in unlawful activities through his posts and writings on social media platform which are prejudicial to the national integrity, sovereignty and security of India”.
He then filed a petition in the court challenging the cyber police's jurisdiction in filing the FIR, and seeking interim protection from arrest and the quashing of the FIR, Indian Express reports.
The case came up for hearing today through video-conferencing. According to Express, Geelani's counsel, Salih Peerzada, said: "Cyber police station, Kashmir Zone 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."
However, the government counsel responded that the case has been transferred for investigation to Saddar police station. "Therefore, the jurisdiction aspect of the matter is not available to the petitioner to seek quashing of the FIR, which otherwise also, cannot be a ground for quashing of FIR."
Geelani is one of three Kashmiri journalists to face police action in the last three days. Photojournalist Masrat Zahra was booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Acton the basis of “information from reliable sources” that Zahra “frequently uploaded anti-national posts with criminal intention”. Next, Peerzada Ashiq, The Hindu's correspondent in Srinagar, was summoned regarding an FIR over a “fake news item” which “could cause fear or alarm in the minds of the public”.