The Supreme Court of India has refused to entertain a plea from a jailed Bihar YouTuber, Manish Kashyap, against whom the National Security Act (NSA) has been invoked. Kashyap was accused of circulating fake videos claiming migrant laborers were being attacked in Tamil Nadu. The bench, comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala, declined to hear the plea but granted Kashyap the liberty to challenge the NSA at an appropriate judicial forum.
Kashyap surrendered to the Jagdishpur police station in Bihar on March 18, following which he was brought to Tamil Nadu, where NSA was invoked against him in April. He faces six FIRs in Tamil Nadu and three in Bihar.
The Tamil Nadu government has opposed Kashyap’s plea to club the FIRs lodged against him and their transfer to Bihar. The government claimed that multiple FIRs registered against Kashyap were not politically motivated but were because he disturbed “public order and national integrity” by circulating fake videos.
In an affidavit, the state government said that Kashyap attempted to instigate violence between Bihari migrant laborers and the people of Tamil Nadu through false and unverified videos. The government claimed that the registration of multiple FIRs was not done with any political intention or to suppress the constitutional rights of the accused, but to stop the spread of misinformation and ensure that the person guilty of such offenses does not escape from the clutches of the law.
The Tamil Nadu government emphasized that freedom of speech and expression is not absolute but should be exercised with caution and responsibility. By disturbing public order and national integrity, the accused cannot seek shelter under the umbrella of constitutional rights.
Earlier, the top court had granted time to the Tamil Nadu government to respond to the amended plea by Kashyap, who is currently lodged in Madurai jail in Tamil Nadu. The bench rejected the plea to club all 19 FIRs against Kashyap and transfer them to Bihar. Senior advocate Maninder Singh, appearing for Kashyap, had made vehement submissions, but the bench was not inclined to entertain the plea.