Madhu Kishwar has sought transfer of her case from a court in Sinagar (Representational)
The Supreme Court has allowed activist Madhu Kishwar, against whom a criminal defamation case has been filed by a Kashmir-based journalist, to participate in court proceedings in Srinagar through video-conferencing from a Delhi court. The top court said if video-conferencing facility was not available in the Srinagar district court where the matter is pending, then the proceedings may take place at any appropriate place or court as per the direction of the Chief Justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.
It, however, said it would be open to the trial court to change the arrangement to ensure that trial is not delayed. "We direct that Madhu Kishwar may be permitted to participate in the proceedings by video-conferencing from a Delhi court. If video-conferencing facility is not available in the district court in question then the proceedings may take place at any appropriate nearest place or court as per the direction of the Chief Justice of the High Court," a bench comprising Justice AK Goel and Justice UU Lalit said.
Ms Kishwar, through her counsel and senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, had approached the top court challenging the May 24 order of high court dismissing her plea seeking transfer of the criminal defamation complaint against her from a court in Srinagar to Jammu.
Mr Jethmalani had told the top court that the high court had failed to appreciate the "explosive and life-threatening law and order situation" in Srinagar and the risk it would pose to her life. She had claimed that on the basis of a "few tweets" posted by her on her Twitter handle regarding the state of the media in Kashmir, a complaint was filed by Syed Shujaat Bukhari, Editor-in-Chief of a daily published from Srinagar, alleging that these tweets were defamatory.
She had claimed that the top court should consider the "continuing surcharged atmosphere in the Kashmir Valley, where even policemen are being lynched and security forces face murderous attacks every day".