Publicise info on CAA to curb fake news circulation: SC

Publicise info on CAA to curb fake news circulation: SC

The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre to consider a plea for publicising aims, objectives and the benefits of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) to weed out fake news that was being circulated on the issue.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde, which decided to examine the constitutional validity of the CAA, took note of BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay's plea that he was not against the new law, but wanted a direction to the Centre and authorities to make citizens aware about it.

"I visited Jamia and Seelampur yesterday. 95 per cent protesters do not know about the CAA. They feel the law will take back their citizenship. Miscreants are circulating fake news," the lawyer alleged.

"Mr Attorney General, the prayers are unusual but very important. Do you need an order of this court," said the bench which also comprised justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant.

Attorney General K K Venugopal, who was present in the courtroom, agreed to the submission of the lawyer.

"An order of this court is not needed. I am very happy to do that. It is very necessary. There are many misunderstandings," Venugopal said.

Earlier, the top court had agreed to hear on Wednesday the plea seeking a direction to the Centre, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal governments to publicise aims, objectives and the benefits of the CAA to weed out circulation of fake news on the subject.

Upadhyay, who initially sought a CBI or a court-monitored SIT probe into the large scale violence during protests against CAA, later filed the amended PIL seeking a direction to the Centre and others to publicise the factual aspects of the newly enacted CAA.

The amended PIL said that governments be directed to "publish aims, objects and benefits of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 in newspapers, through news channels in order to root out doubts being created by miscreants and to make common man fully aware about benefits of the Act".

The plea also sought a direction to authorities to take apposite steps to weed out fake news being circulated about the Act. 

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