The judgment had granted immunity from prosecution to MP/MLAs for accepting money for votes.
The Supreme Court on Monday extended till September 15 its interim order protecting from arrest the President and the members of the fact-finding team of the Editors Guild of India (EGI) in respect of two FIRs registered against them by the Manipur Police.
A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra
extended its order restraining Manipur police from arresting the EGI President and the members of the fact-finding team till Friday – the next date of hearing.
Initially on September 6, the top court had passed an interim order protecting the EGI President and the members of the fact-finding team from any coercive action till today.
As Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the Manipur government urged the bench to ask EGI to approach Manipur High Court, and senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Shyam Divan appearing for EGI opposed it, the Chief Justice Chandrachud asked the Solicitor General Mehta whether the Manipur government would agree on the transfer of the case to the Delhi High Court as a one-off measure.
“We will not quash the FIRs here… but we will examine whether such a plea could be heard by the Delhi High Court,” Chief Justice Chandrachud said.
Objecting to the transfer of the case to Delhi High Court, the Solicitor General Mehta said that the Editors Guild was attempting to make it a “national political issue” and asked why they wanted the matter to be transferred to Delhi High Court and not to any of the High Courts of the States neighbouring Manipur.
Solicitor General said that the Manipur High Court was functioning and allowed virtual hearing of the cases.
Telling the court that the EGI’s fact-finding team went to Manipur on the invitation of the army, to make an “objective assessment” of the “unethical and ex-parte reporting” by the vernacular media, Sibal said, “We did not volunteer to go there. It is the Army that requested us. We got a letter from the Army.”
Surprised over the statement by Sibal that the EGI fact-finding team went to Manipur on the invitation of the army, Chief Justice Chandrachud wondered why the Army wanted the EGI to go to Manipur.
In the course of the hearing the Solicitor General Mehta told the court to extend the protection from arrest for some more time to the members of the EGI’s fact finding team but urged the bench to ask EGI to approach the Manipur High Court as has been done in other cases.
Opposing the submission by Solicitor General, senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Shyam Divan told the bench that the matter be heard by the Supreme Court as the FIRs have been lodged on the basis of a fact-finding report.