Freedom of speech and expression is not absolute, the state told the Supreme Court. (File)
Multiple cases that have been registered in Tamil Nadu against jailed YouTuber Manish Kashyap are not politically motivated but because he disturbed "public order and national integrity" by circulating fake videos of migrant labourers being attacked in the southern state, the state government told the Supreme Court on Friday.
In an affidavit filed before a bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, the state government opposed Manish Kashyap's plea to club the FIRs lodged against him, saying he cannot "seek the shelter of the umbrella of constitutional rights". The state government claimed Manish Kashyap attempted to instigate violence between Bihari migrant labourers and the people of Tamil Nadu through false and unverified videos.
"The registration of multiple FIRs was not done with any political intention, nor to suppress the constitutional rights of the accused, but with the intention to stop the spread of misinformation and to ensure that the person guilty of such offences does not escape from the clutches of law."
"Freedom of speech and expression is not absolute but should be exercise with caution and responsibility. By disturbing public order and national integrity, the accused cannot seek shelter under the umbrella of constitutional rights," the Tamil Nadu government said in the affidavit.
It said the contention that there was complete abuse of the process of law by registering multiple FIRs is not sustainable.
The due process of law was followed by the police in all the FIRs registered in Tamil Nadu, it said, claiming Manish Kashyap disturbed public peace and tranquillity and created a volatile law and order situation in the state.
A great amount of fear and panic was created among the families of migrant labourers, it said.
Earlier in the day, the top court granted time to the Tamil Nadu government to respond to the amended plea by Manish Kashyap against whom the stringent National Security Act (NSA) has been invoked for allegedly circulating fake videos of migrant labourers being attacked in the southern state.
The top court had on April 21 directed the state government not to shift Kashyap from the Madurai Central Prison. It had issued a notice to Tamil Nadu and Bihar governments on Manish Kashyap's plea challenging his detention under the National Security Act.
Manish Kashyap had on April 5 appeared before the Madurai district court which ordered that he be remanded in judicial custody for 15 days, following which he was sent to the Madurai central prison.
In his plea before the top court, Manish Kashyap sought clubbing of all the FIRs registered against him in Tamil Nadu with those lodged in Bihar.
He also said the issue of alleged violence in Tamil Nadu against migrant labourers from Bihar was widely reported in the media, and the petitioner, since March 1, was raising his voice against it by making videos on social media platforms and writing content on Twitter.
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