Mumbai: Masterclass By Petition Group At Don Bosco High School Empowers Activists With Legal Strategies

Mumbai: Masterclass By Petition Group At Don Bosco High School Empowers Activists With Legal Strategies

The senior advocate delved into the pressing issue of hate speech, emphasising activists’ responsibility in securing FIRs.

FPJ News ServiceUpdated: Sunday, March 03, 2024, 11:06 PM IST
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Activists from across the city gathered in Matunga on Sunday for a masterclass on court petitioning. Senior advocate Gayatri Singh briefed around 50 participants on laws empowering petitioners for better governance. The seminar, organised by the Petition Group at Don Bosco High School, covered laws benefiting activists and citizens, with Singh sharing insights from her 40-year advocacy experience.

She said, “Although only cognisable offences can be registered as FIR, the complainant should make sure to register an NC complaint whenever required. More NCs should be filed if need arises, which leads to the arrest of a person even in a non-cognisable offence.”

The senior advocate delved into the pressing issue of hate speech, emphasising activists’ responsibility in securing FIRs. Citing the recent communal clash at Mira Road in January, she said, “A Member of Legislative Assembly made a statement inside the police station that a particular community should not reside in the area and their houses should be demolished. No FIR was filed against him even when the Supreme Court has directed to get FIR registered immediately in such matters.”

Singh also provided guidance on handling incorrect reports, invoking sections 218 (Public servant framing incorrect record) and 219 (maliciously making any report in any stage of a judicial proceeding) of the Indian Penal Code. While trying to get an FIR registered against a police official, she advised the petitioners to have proof of their visit to the police station. “The police can implicate the complainant with false charges of abuse and threatening. A complainant should always have a video recording as well as a written record of their visit to the police station,” she said.

Citing the Supreme Court’s 1998 judgement in the Vineet Narain v/s Union of India, Singh said, “The SC had given continuous mandamus until action was taken by the government. The court had set down guidelines for the independence of the central investigative agencies but that independence is lost and everything is under the government’s control.”

The advocate also mentioned about the inefficiency of the Lokayuktas appointed at the state level alleging that the independent body is working under control of the government. He expressed her wish for collaboration of activists and criminal lawyers, which can facilitate exchange of information to ensure better governance for the public.

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