‘Daily Desher Katha’ resumes publication
DAILY DESHER KATHA, the popular mouthpiece of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in Tripura that was forcibly closed down on October 1 by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, resumed publication on October 11. In what is percieved as a politically motivated move, the District Magistrate of West Tripura ordered the closure of the 40-year-old paper on the grounds that it violated the Press and Registration of Books (PRB) Act, 1867. The Registrar of Newspapers for India (RNI) cancelled its registration.
The District Magistrate, Mahatme Sandeep Namdeo, held that the information provided by the newspaper about itself in print did not tally with the data on the RNI website. The discrepancy appears to have been caused by a lapse in updating the information on the website. The decision to close the newspaper was seen as a direct attack on the freedom of the press, especially since Daily Desher Katha is one of the staunchest critics of the BJP government in Tripura. The CPI(M) moved the Tripura High Court challenging the District Magistrate’s order and the RNI’S decision
the magazine as working for him under Section 124 of the IPC. It is not clear whose idea it was to invoke the colonial era Section 124, but this was ostensibly done so that Gopal and others—some of whom had nothing to do with the article—could not claim “immunity” under Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution. It argued that the freedom of speech and expression was subject to “restrictions contained” under Article 19(2) of the Constitution. The complaint named 32 journalists and employees of Nakkheeran and three distributors of the magazine.
Raj Bhavan’s ire was because of three articles published in the magazine in the past six months on the alleged role of the office of the to registration.
On October 10, Chief Justice Ajay Rastogi ruled: “…the future effect and operation of the order of the District Magistrate, West Tripura, dt. 01.10.2018 followed with the order passed by the Sub-divisional Magistrate, Sadar dt.01.10.2018 are hereby stayed. However, the respondents will be at liberty to file application for vacation/modification of the interim order after filing of the counter affidavit.”
The reason for the fiasco is the mismatch in the information provided in the print line of the paper, which states that Samir Paul is the editor, printer and publisher and the Daily Desher Katha Trust is its owner, and on the RNI website, which states that Gautam Das is the editor, printer and publisher and the CPI(M) Tripura State Committee the owner. On the basis of this mismatch, a local resident lodged a complaint in the court earlier this year.
From 1979, the year the newspaper was launched, to 2012, Daily Desher Katha was owned by the CPI (M) Tripura State Committee, and Gautam Das was its editor, publisher cancel the paper’s
Governor in the controversy surrounding the sex-for-favours scam. In April this year, Nirmala Devi, a senior faculty member of Madurai Kamaraj University, was arrested for allegedly luring female students to provide sexual favours. In an audio clip that was released, Nirmala Devi claimed that she knew the Governor, who was also the Chancellor of the university. However, Purohit denied any link with Nirmala Devi and ordered an inquiry into the scandal, even as the Tamil Nadu government had ordered an inquiry into the issue. Reports of both inquiries are not public. No one in government thought it fit to ask why the Governor ordered an inquiry when the State government had ordered one. and printer. In 2012, the management of the newspaper was handed over to the Daily Desher Katha Society. In 2015, Gautam Das stepped down as editor, publisher and printer, and the society appointed Samir Paul in his place. In September this year, the Daily Desher Katha Trust was formed to take over the management of the paper from the Daily Desher Katha Society. Gautam Das became the chairman of the trust.
The documentation for the formation of the trust was authenticated by a first-class magistrate, in this case the Sub-divisional Magistrate, Sadar. The CPI(M) maintains that it provided the necessary documents to the authorities concerned whenever a change took place.
But on October 1, even after the RNI issued a revised registration certificate to the daily and updated Daily Desher Katha’s information on its website, the District Magistrate allegedly forced the newspaper to close down. He ordered the Sub-divisional Magistrate to cancel the authentication he had given earlier and informed the RNI that the authentication had been can-
In the complaint, Sengottaiyan said that three articles published by the magazine in April and September this year were “clearly expressing their intention of inducing and compelling” Purohit from exercising “his lawful powers” as Governor. The articles were “defamatory” and “malicious”. Under Article 162 of the Constitution, the Governor could exercise executive powers of the state, it stated.
The Nakkheeran issue of April 20-22 had a “breaking news” item with the caption “Nakkheeran had belled the cat and Governor [was] caught in the trap and there was danger for Nirmala [Devi] in jail.” The article had Purohit’s photographs. This was cited as the reason