'Investigation in case shall continue': Scroll journalist gets protection from arrest after FIR filed for 'misreporting'
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'Investigation in case shall continue': Scroll journalist gets protection from arrest after FIR filed for 'misreporting'

Scroll stands by the story filed by its executive editor Supriya Sharma, saying it had been 'reported accurately'.

By NL Team

Published on :

The Allahabad High Court granted Scroll's Supriya Sharma protection from immediate arrest in connection with an FIR filed against her in June for "misreporting".

Scroll reported that on August 25, a bench of Justices Manoj Misra and Anil Kumar "said the petition to quash the FIR could not be accepted at the current stage and the investigation in the case would continue". Sharma's lawyers told the court that Scroll has an audio recording to establish the veracity of Sharma's story.

The story in question was filed by Sharma, who is Scroll's executive editor, and published on June 8 from the village of Domari in Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi district. It was headlined “In Varanasi village adopted by Prime Minister Modi, people went hungry during the lockdown” and included quotes from a resident named Mala.

On June 13, an FIR was filed against Sharma based on a complaint from Mala, who alleged that Sharma had falsely reported about her work and material condition during the lockdown. Sharma was subsequently booked under two different sections of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act, among other charges.

Scroll has emphasised that it "reported the article correctly and stands by it". The FIR against Sharma was widely condemned, including by the Editors Guild of India, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the People's Union of Civil Liberties, and Reporters Sans Frontières.

The high court on August 25 noted: "Under the circumstances, as the allegations disclose commission of cognisable offence, the prayer of the petitioners to quash the first information report cannot be accepted. However, considering the facts and circumstances of the case and keeping in mind that the petitioners claim that they have audio recording of the interview, the contents of which were reflected in the publication, we deem it appropriate to dispose off this petition by providing that investigation of the case shall continue and brought to its logical conclusion but petitioners shall not be arrested in the above case till submission of police report under Section 173 (2)Code of Criminal Procedure provided they cooperate in the investigation."

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