Why NSA on YouTuber, SC asks Tamil Nadu government

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YouTuber Manish Kashyap, who is accused of posting fake videos about Bihar migrants being attacked in Tamil Nadu, produced before a court in Madurai in March 2023.

YouTuber Manish Kashyap, who is accused of posting fake videos about Bihar migrants being attacked in Tamil Nadu, produced before a court in Madurai in March 2023.
| Photo Credit: R. Ashok

The Supreme Court on April 21 found the Bihar and Tamil Nadu governments on the same page against a proposal to club multiple FIRs against YouTuber Manish Kashyap and transfer all of them to Bihar.

Mr. Kashyap is accused of spreading misinformation that migrant workers from Bihar were attacked in Tamil Nadu. He has urged the top court to transfer FIRs registered in various parts of Tamil Nadu against him to Patna in Bihar.

Appearing before a Bench led by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, the Bihar Government counsel agreed with senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who represented Tamil Nadu, that the FIRs registered against Mr. Kashyap concerned different acts and cannot be combined into one investigation.

The Bihar Government counsel even said Mr. Kashyap was a “habitual offender” and had eight cases against him in the State.

Mr. Sibal explained that the FIRs in Tamil Nadu concerned Mr. Kashyap’s alleged activities when he visited various parts of the State in the guise of interviewing people. Multiple FIRs could be registered in the State as each of them concerned a different act of the man.

However, the court questioned the Tamil Nadu Government about the invocation of the National Security Act (NSA) against Mr. Kashyap, represented by senior advocate Siddharth Dave. Mr. Dave said, at this point, he actually did not even know the whereabouts of his client.

Mr. Sibal responded that the man was lodged in the Madurai Central Prison. “But why NSA, Mr. Sibal?” the Chief Justice asked.

The senior lawyer said Mr. Kashyap had a substantial number of followers on social media. He argued that the misinformation allegedly spread by him had led to violence in Tamil Nadu. “People have died,” Mr. Sibal said.

Next hearing on April 28

The court directed Tamil Nadu not to move Mr. Kashyap from the Madurai Central Prison, and posted the case next on April 28.

In a separate case, the same Bench refused to entertain a petition filed by Nupur Sharma and Rahul Roushan, the editor and founder of online portal ‘OpIndia’, against FIRs registered by the Tamil Nadu Police against them for allegedly spreading fake news about attacks on migrant labourers in Tamil Nadu. The court, however, protected the duo from coercive action for a period of four weeks, giving them time to approach the High Court for relief. 

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