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Delhi HC refuses to take down The Print article on RAW ops in US

The Delhi High Court on Monday, February 18, rejected a petition seeking the withdrawal of an article by media organisation, The Print, on the closure of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)’s North America operations.

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According to petitioner, advocate Raghav Awasthi, the news article – Nijjar-Pannun effect: RAW downs shutters in North America 1st time since inception in 1968 – published on November 30 last year risks the lives of several Indian diplomats and intelligent officials working abroad.

Stating that The Print‘s article was totally source-based, Awasthi appealed to the High Court to issue an order to stop media houses from publishing such articles.

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However, a division bench of acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora said that the article, prima facie, does not compromise the careers of the officers or put the lives of their family members in any danger.

“It is an innocuous piece. Leave it at that. It does not identify anyone. I think you [Awasthi] have identified more people than that. Your source is correct or not, we have no idea,” the bench remarked.

The bench further said that it is the Indian Government’s responsibility to secure the lives of RAW officials working for the country and to maintain if media article or report compromises with the national safety and security.

“Government of India has full power and authority to block any article which compromises national safety and security and it requires no advise of either the petitioner or this court. The Court should not easily transgress into this area. The impugned article, in the opinion of this court, prima facie, does not compromise the careers of the officers or puts the life of their family members in any danger,” the bench concluded in its order.

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