Trial begins in defamation case against Madhu Kishwar by Rising Kashmir Editor Shujaat Bukhari

‘She appeared before court through video conferencing’

Srinagar: Trial began on Saturday in the defamation case filed against Madhu Kishwar by Shujaat Bukhari, a Srinagar based Editor, of English daily Rising Kashmir. She appeared before the court through video conferencing.

Chief Judicial Magistrate Srinagar Aijaz Ahmad Khan started the trial in the criminal defamation case filed by the complainant in December 2016 against the accused. He heard the case in which Kishwar appeared through video conferencing in Tis Hazari Court as per the order of Supreme Court.

Her counsel Ravi Sharma moved an application for discharging the accused. The CJM asked the counsels of complainant to file objections and fixed February 24 as the new date for arguments. Accused along with counsel were directed to be present for the video conferencing on the next date of hearing. Advocates Syed Faisal Qadri and Vaseem Aslam appeared for Mr Bukhari.

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The Supreme Court had in July last year, allowed her to participate in court proceedings in Srinagar through video-conferencing from a Delhi court. The apex court had, 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 had said.

In the complaint, Bukhari has sought criminal proceedings under Sections 499 and 500 of the RPC for defaming the complainant through her tweets in July, 2016 and on December 2, 2016. “She has levelled unfounded and malicious allegations,” the complaint before the court said. Kishwar in her tweets had alleged that his newspaper had received “funding from agencies” and was playing “ISI script” and spitting venom against India.

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Kishwar had sought transfer of case on “security grounds” to Jammu but that was rejected by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court. She later moved Supreme Court which gave her the option of appearing through video conferencing.

In September 2017, the Delhi Court had refused to give interim protection to her after CJM had issued a non balaible warrant against her. “Why protection? What steps have you taken? You want to avoid the trial. No interim protection,” Justice Vinod Goel of Delhi High Court had said, adding that she wanted to delay the trial and also avoid video conferencing.

“Have you filed an application before the Srinagar trial court. Give a copy of the Supreme Court order to the Srinagar trial court and, if you fail to get relief from there, move Jammu and Kashmir High Court. “You go and make a representation to Jammu and Kashmir High Court and inform about the Supreme Court order. You want to avoid video conferencing,” the court said.

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(With inputs from KNS)

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