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Report matters of criminal defamation by media: Delhi government to officials

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Delhi Elections 2015 and AAP

By NewsGram Staff Writer

A few days after Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal accused media for “conspiring against Aam Aadmi Party”, Delhi government has asked officials to report matters of criminal defamation.

The notification, issued by the Directorate of Information and Publicity, was not just for the government officials but also includes Delhi’s Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal.

The circular refers to sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code. The section states that if any officer of the Delhi government feels that a published or an aired item has damaged his or the government’s reputation, he should file a complaint in this regard with the Principal Secretary (home).

According to the circular, after getting an approval from the director (prosecution), the matter should be referred to the law department and after the government’s consent, a case should be filed

“If by words either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs or by visible representations, any person makes or publishes any defamatory imputation against the Chief Minister/Ministers of the government of NCT of Delhi or any public servant, employed in connection with the affairs of government of NCT of Delhi, in respect of his conduct in the discharge of his public functions and if the person aggrieved believes that such imputation has harmed his/her reputation, he/she will report the matter in writing to the Principal Secretary (Home) , Government of NCT Delhi,” the circular reads.

Sajjan Singh Yadav, the director of Information Department, told The Indian Express, “This is nothing new. We have not enacted any new law. We have just informed government functionaries about the available remedies in defamation cases under the existing law of the land.”

Another senior official told to the newspaper, “It is an explanatory circular for the understanding of all government employees from the Chief Minister to a peon. Other states have also issued such circulars. The need for such a circular was felt for a long time and has nothing to do with any alleged attacks on the media by the Aam Aadmi Party.”

He added, “A number of government employees, especially from the MCDs, faced harassment from small-time newspapers and channels that were threatening and blackmailing them under the pretext of reporting. The circular has been issued only to explain to them that if there are any personal attacks or irresponsible reporting against them while discharging their duty, then such legal action can be initiated”.

 

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  • THIS SHALL BE A GOOD DOSE TO NEWS CHANNELS (MAY BE ACTUALLY ADD CHANNELS) AND(MOSTLY) ARROGANT MEDIA.

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Summary Trials Have No Place In Afghan Laws: Behrooz Jahanya

Human rights organizations also criticized the Afghan government

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Relatives of Afghan woman, 27-year-old Farkhunda, who was beaten to death by a mob, attend a hearing at a court in Kabul on May 6, 2015. Four Afghan men were sentenced to death for the savage lynching of a woman falsely accused of blasphemy, a landmark judgment in a nation where female victims often have little legal recourse.
Relatives of Afghan woman, 27-year-old Farkhunda, who was beaten to death by a mob, attend a hearing at a court in Kabul on May 6, 2015. Four Afghan men were sentenced to death for the savage lynching of a woman falsely accused of blasphemy, a landmark judgment in a nation where female victims often have little legal recourse. VOA

Human rights organizations have voiced “grave concerns” over the rise in summary court convictions in Afghanistan after a video of one such trial was posted on social media last week.

In the video, which was filmed outside the capital, Kabul, a group of four men and a woman were convicted of adultery by men who called themselves “mujahidin,” a title the Taliban always uses to identify its fighters.

The men in the video, who appeared to have been beaten up, confessed to having been involved in the act of adultery, an offense that carries severe punishments under both Afghan and Islamic Sharia law, if proved.

The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission said summary court convictions are grave sources of concern, “especially when it happens in areas under the control of the Afghan government.”

Afghanistan March 2009
Afghanistan March 2009, Flickr

“Lashing, beheading, killing and stoning are among the verdicts of the summary court trials conducted in Afghanistan,” Bilal Sidiqi, Afghan AIHRC spokesperson, told VOA.

During the past three months, AIHRC has recorded at least three cases of summary court convictions, while the number of such incidents reached eight last year.

Hinder justice

United Nation Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) condemned the conduct of such trials and criticized what it called “traditional dispute-resolution mechanisms.”

Responding to a VOA query, UNAMA stated: “The handling of criminal cases outside Afghanistan’s court system can hinder justice and the realization of human rights. Afghanistan’s laws and penal code do not include any legal provision allowing for the mediation of criminal cases. Traditional dispute-resolution mechanisms should not be used in criminal cases to replace the existing legal framework or court adjudication processes of the government of Afghanistan.”

Human rights organizations also criticized the Afghan government for failing to prosecute the perpetrators.

Poster-Stop terorrism
Poster-Stop terorrism, Pixabay

“We call on the Afghan government to take serious measures to prevent such inhumane incidents,” Siddiqi said.

The Afghan government is striving to expand its control all over the country’s territories so everyone has access to the justice system, the Afghan presidential palace told VOA.

“The acts [summary trials] carried out by the Taliban and other terrorist groups against the people are criminal offenses,” Afghan presidential spokesperson Shah Hussain Murtazawi told VOA.

Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan are being widely accused of conducting summary trials in the country.

Also read:Taliban Ghani peace offer

“We have recorded a number of summary convictions in restive areas and frequently the areas under Taliban control. Efforts were made to investigate and prosecute those who conduct summary trials,” Najib Danish, spokesperson for the Afghan interior minister, told VOA.

Against the law

Summary court convictions by the Taliban and other radical groups contradict the Afghan constitution and Islamic law, said Behrooz Jahanyar, a Kabul-based lawyer.

“What the Taliban is doing is absolutely against the Islamic law. Summary trials have no place in Afghan laws, either. No one can be convicted or punished without going through all court proceedings and access to appeal in a higher court,” Jahanyar told VOA.

Members of civil society organizations in Afghanistan allege that the issue of summary trials is more severe than it appears to be.

“Summary trials are conducted more in remote and hard-to-reach areas, where fear of retaliation prevents people from reporting such incidents,” Kabul-based civil activist Abdul Wodood Pedram, told VOA.

Although the authenticity of the videos posted on social media cannot be confirmed, disturbing footage is being posted periodically by militant groups in Afghanistan of women being stoned and beaten with batons, men being slashed, and Afghan soldiers captured by militants being shot to death. (VOA)