SC notice to MP govt on bail plea of woman with PFI links arrested for filming Indore court proceedings

 The Supreme Court on Friday sought the Madhya Pradesh government’s response on a bail plea of a 30-year-old woman who was arrested for filming the proceedings of a court during a hearing in Indore district.

Police officials have alleged the woman has links with the banned group Popular Front of India (PFI).

A bench of justices Ajay Rastogi and Bela M Trivedi issued notice to the state government on Sonu Mansuri’s plea.

At the outset, the bench expressed disinclination to entertain the matter and asked the lawyer appearing for the petitioners to approach the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

“This business of getting everything transferred to Delhi should stop. Why don’t you go to the high court,” the bench said.

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that the accused was in custody for over two months and no lawyer is being allowed to appear for her.

Dave said the top court has a duty to intervene when the fundamental right of a citizen is violated.

The apex court then issued notice in the matter and posted the case for hearing on March 20.

Mansuri, who was arrested on January 28, had told the police that an advocate had asked her to make the video to be sent to the Islamic group PFI and she was given Rs 3 lakh for the work.

During the hearing of a case related to Bajrang Dal leader Tanu Sharma, his advocates Amit Pandey and Sunil Vishwakarma noticed the woman shooting the video in court room no. 42 of Indore district court, police had said.

Mansuri, a resident of Indore, claimed before the police that senior advocate Noorjahan Khan had given her the task of making the video to be sent across to the PFI, the official had said.

The woman also told the police that she was given Rs 3 lakh for this work, the police official had said, adding the money has been recovered.

The Centre had in September 2022 banned the PFI and several of its associates for five years under a stringent anti-terror law, accusing them of having “links” with global terror groups like ISIS and trying to spread communal hatred in the country.

Before the ban, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and various state police forces had carried out raids in a massive pan-India crackdown on the PFI and arrested several of its leaders and activists from various states for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country.

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