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February 27, 2024
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Bihar: Supreme Court rejects relief to YouTuber Manish Kashyap in NSA case

PATNA: The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed YouTuber Manish Kashyap’s plea seeking to club the three FIRs registered against him in Bihar and Tamil Nadu against the spread of fake news via purported videos on his YouTube channel. The bench also refused to entertain Kashyap’s plea to quash his detention under the National Security Act and directed him to move the high court to seek relief.

Manish Kashyap, a popular YouTuber, has found himself in legal trouble as charges under the National Security Act (NSA) have been filed against him for allegedly circulating fake videos showing attacks on Bihari migrant workers in Tamil Nadu. Fearing arrest, Kashyap had surrendered to the Champaran Police in Bihar in March after several police teams were on his trail.

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justices PS Narasimha, and JB Pardiwala took note of the serious allegations against Kashyap. In response to his plea, the bench expressed its disapproval, stating, “You have a stable state, a state like Tamil Nadu, and you circulate anything to create troubles! We cannot be lending our ears to this.”

Although the court acknowledged the gravity of the charges against Kashyap, his lawyer, Maninder Singh, argued that his client had created the videos based on newspaper articles and media reports. According to Kashyap’s advocate, if his client is being held responsible, then mainstream newspapers that published similar information should also face detention under the NSA.

The counsel representing the Bihar government informed the Supreme Court that the three FIRs lodged against Kashyap were in connection with different matters. The first FIR pertained to the fake videos on his YouTube channel, while the second FIR was related to fake interviews near Patna airport, alleging mistreatment of Bihari migrant workers in Tamil Nadu. The authenticity of the claims made in the video remains disputed.

The Bihar government further revealed that Kashyap had a history of criminal offenses, branding him a “habitual offender” with a criminal background. In addition to the aforementioned FIRs, a third one was filed against the YouTuber for another fake video in which he claimed to have been arrested by the Tamil Nadu Police.

Kapil Sibal, appearing for the State of Tamil Nadu, suggested that Kashyap could approach the Madras High Court to request the clubbing of the FIRs against him. The Supreme Court did not entertain this request and directed Kashyap to seek relief through the high court.

With the Supreme Court’s dismissal of his plea, Manish Kashyap now faces the legal consequences of the charges levied against him. The court’s decision emphasizes the need for responsible dissemination of information and the potential repercussions for spreading fake news, particularly through social media platforms like YouTube.

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