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Tablighi case: Freedom of speech, expression most abused right in recent times, says Supreme Court

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New Delhi, Oct 08: The Supreme Court on Thursday said freedom of speech and expression is the "most abused right" in recent times. A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde, which was hearing pleas of Jamiat Ulama I Hind and others alleging that a section of media was spreading communal hatred over Tablighi Jamaat congregation during the onset of COVID-19 pandemic.

Supreme Court

"Freedom of speech and expression is the most abused right in recent times," the apex court said. The bench observed this when senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for Jamaat, said the Centre in its affidavit has stated that petitioners are trying to muzzle freedom of speech and expression.

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To this, the bench said, "They are free to make any averment in their affidavit, like you are free to make any argument you want". The bench was irked over the fact that instead of secretary of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, an additional secretary filed the affidavit which contained "unnecessary" and "nonsensical" averments with regard to media reporting in Tablighi Jamaat issue.

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    "You cannot treat this court the way you are doing in this case," said the bench, also comprising Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.

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