SC Notice to Tamil Nadu, Bihar on YouTuber’s Plea Seeking Clubbing of FIRs

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought responses from Tamil Nadu and Bihar on a plea filed by a YouTuber, arrested for allegedly circulating fake videos of migrant labourers being attacked in the southern state, seeking clubbing of the FIRs lodged against him.

A bench of Justices Krishna Murari and Sanjay Karol issued the notice to the Centre, the Tamil Nadu and the Bihar governments, and sought their replies within a week on the plea filed by Manish Kashyap.

The matter has been posted for hearing on April 21.

Senior advocate Siddhartha Dave, appearing for Kashyap, submitted that the petitioner was facing five prosecutions in two states.

Referring to journalist Arnab Goswami’s case, Dave said one offence cannot give rise to multiple proceedings.

“I am praying that let Bihar FIR be the lead FIR. Let there be a hands-off approach in other FIRs… I am being taken to Tamil Nadu where I do not even understand the language. This is astounding and threatening the sovereignty of the nation,” Dave said.

At this, Justice Karol said, “On a lighter note, even I am a migrant from Bihar.” Justice Murari said, “This statement speaks a lot now.”

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Tamil Nadu, said Kashyap’s action has resulted in deaths and it is not a simple matter.

Kashyap has already been detained under the National Security Act, Sibal said, and sought time to file a reply.

The counsel appearing for Kashyap who has also sought quashing of the FIRs lodged against him over the same alleged cause of action had told the apex court that his client has now been booked under the NSA.

According to Madurai Superintendent of Police Shiva Prasad, Kashyap, who circulated fake videos of Bihari migrant labourers being attacked in Tamil Nadu on social media platforms, has been detained under the NSA.

Kashyap had, on April 5, appeared before the Madurai district court that ordered that he be remanded in judicial custody for 15 days, following which he was sent to the Madurai central prison.

Cases have been filed against Kashyap and others for allegedly circulating fake videos of migrant workers being attacked in the southern state.

In his plea filed in the apex court, the petitioner had sought clubbing of all the FIRs registered against him in Tamil Nadu with those lodged in Bihar.

The plea said several FIRs have been registered against him, including three in Bihar and two in Tamil Nadu.

The petition also said the issue of alleged violence on Bihari migrants in Tamil Nadu was widely reported in the media and the petitioner, from March 1 onwards, raised his voice against it by making videos on social media platforms and writing content on Twitter.

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