SC Rejects 'Congress Toolkit' Petition, declares 'India is a democratic country'
The top court declared that if the petitioner doesn't like the toolkit, "then do not look, disregard it... this is political party propaganda."
The Supreme Court dismissed a request for an investigation into the supposed "toolkit" on Monday, calling such information as propaganda by a political party that can be disregarded by people with different opinions.
Dismissing a petition filed by a lawyer, Shashank Shekhar Jha, a bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah stated that, “this political chaff, is a political party's political propaganda. If you don't like the toolkit, disregard it."
The controversy arose in May when Bharatiya Janata Party leaders tweeted a copy of a toolkit, essentially a media outreach and social campaign document, which the party claimed was prepared by the Congress to build a biassed narrative against the Narendra Modi government for its handling of Covid and the Central Vista project. The toolkit, according to Congress, was forged.
Jha sought a government investigating agency, such as the National Investigation Agency (NIA), to look into Congress's role and determine whether the publication of the alleged toolkit constituted a crime under sedition, criminal conspiracy, or the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. If the allegations were validated, the petition asked that the Election Commission revoke Congress' registration.
Furthermore, in his public interest litigation (PIL), Jha also appealed the SC to prohibit political parties from setting up hoardings depicting the country or the government in a negative light, as well as to prohibit the use of pictures of funerals, dead bodies, and blaming one religion for the spread of the coronavirus disease in the country.
The petition was deemed ambiguous by the bench, and the petition's prayers were deemed "frivolous."
“India is a democratic country. Those broad directives are not permissible. People who are aggrieved have other legal procedures (to file criminal cases),” remarked the bench. Jha ultimately backed down and withdrew his petition.
“These are the basic directions you're looking for. These bogus petitions consume the Supreme Court's attention. “You come with a specific case,” the bench said, referring to Jha's request for a general order prohibiting hoardings that harm India's or the Prime Minister's image.