The Supreme Court on Monday refused to issue blanket orders to the Delhi Police not to book people in connection with posters criticising the Centre’s vaccination policy, the Hindustan Times reported.
The court has asked the petitioner to submit details of the cases filed and those arrested for pasting posters critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in connection with the vaccination drive.
In May, several posters surfaced in Delhi questioning Modi for exporting Covid-19 vaccines during the devastating second wave of the pandemic. The posters read: “Modi ji, why did you send our children’s vaccines aboard?”
Over the next few days, the Delhi Police filed 25 first information reports and made as many arrests in the case, The Hindu reported.
Pradeep Kumar Yadav, a lawyer, has filed a petition seeking the quashing of these FIRs. He has also sought a direction to the Delhi police commissioner not to register any more cases.
Yadav claimed that such cases have also been lodged in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Lakshadweep.
However, a bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud said that the controversy in Lakshadweep was a different one. The court referred to activist and filmmaker Aisha Sultana, who is facing a sedition case for her remarks against Lakshadweep administrator Praful Khoda Patel.
“Don’t bring that controversy in this matter,” the bench said, according to PTI. “You [Yadav] tell us about the cases registered in Delhi and other places.”
The Supreme Court also refused to issue any direction to the police, saying that doing so would amount to giving a notice to them. “You should do your homework,” the court told the petitioner, while asking him not to rely just on media reports.
The Delhi Police has claimed that four men had put up the posters on behalf of Aam Aadmi Party councillor Dhirender Kumar. While Kumar refuted the claims, AAP leader Durgesh Pathak had later said that the party was behind the posters.
Among those arrested were a 19-year-old school dropout, a 30-year-old e-rickshaw driver and a 61-year-old maker of wooden frames, The Indian Express reported.