The Supreme Court today declined to grant any relief to digital media Journalist Manish Kashyap challenging the invocation of the National Security Act by the State of Tamil Nadu and said that he may approach the High Court.

The Bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha and Justice J.B. Pardiwala ordered, "We are not inclined to exercise jurisdiction under Article 32" and said in the order that Manish may approach the High Court.

Upon dictation of the order, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for the state of Tamil Nadu said, "Those cases where I am on the other side, this is an exceptional case". Sibal was referring to the fact that though he usually appears for journalists who are acted against by the state, he is opposing one such plea today.

Senior Advocate Maninder Singh appearing for Manish Kashyap submitted at the outset that two adjournments were sought earlier and on the first adjournment, the state of Tamil Nadu invoked the NSA.

"What is to be done... you produce fake videos..", the CJI said, adding that in Bihar there are three FIRs and six in Tamil Nadu.

"If I have to be under NSA, every newspaper has to be under NSA", Maninder Singh submitted to point out that other media outlets had also reported the story of attacks against migrant workers.

"You have a remedy to move the High Court against the NSA", the CJI said. "We will club the FIRs", he added.

"Lordships have followed the formula where all the FIRs on the subject have to go where the first FIR is registered. If this boy has to remain inside continuously, it could be a serious miscarriage of justice", Maninder Singh submitted.

The CJI then said that some FIRs appear to be unconnected.

Kapil Sibal then endorsed the view and said that transfer would mean quashing the FIRs in Tamil Nadu and submitted that some of the FIRs are different.

The Lawyer representing the state of Bihar said that the three FIRs in Bihar are with respect to different incidents. He said that one video was created in Bihar and it was depicted that it was created in Tamil Nadu. He said that another video was recorded in the Airport where Manish interviewed people from Tamil Nadu. It was submitted that the third FIR was registered for misusing an old photo where Manish was in handcuffs. The Lawyer submitted that Manish has contested elections in past and that he is a habitual offender.

Sibal submitted that four FIRs in Tamil Nadu relate to separate incidents and that the remaining two can be clubbed.

Maninder Singh then submitted that labours from Bihar work at a lesser wage and there were problems due to the same. He submitted that the newspaper Dainik Bhaskar has reported similar incidents.

"You have stable states, you have a state like Tamil Nadu. You just circulate anything and create disquiet in that state", the CJI said.

The court then said that it is not inclined to grant any relief to the petitioner.

The Supreme Court had on April 21, 2023, directed the State of Tamil Nadu to respond to the additional relief sought against the invocation of NSA. The Chief Justice had expressed his displeasure against the invocation of the NSA by Tamil Nadu against the YouTuber journalist and had asked, "Why this vengeance against this man?".

The Court had directed that "pending further orders the petitioner shall not be moved from the Central Jail, Madurai, Tamil Nadu".

Appearing for the State of Tamil Nadu, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal had stated that he is making fake videos and uploading them saying that Biharis are being killed in Tamil Nadu wherein the counsel for the State of Bihar had submitted that Kashyap already has 8 criminal cases pending against him and is also accused of an offence under Section 307 of IPC.

Manish Kashyap had approached the Apex Court challenging multiple FIRs lodged in the State of Bihar and Tamil Nadu against him for making YouTube videos allegedly containing fake news about violence against Bihari migrant workers in Tamil Nadu. Another Bench of the Apex Court had on April 11, 2023, issued notice to the State of Bihar and the Union of India, but refused to pass any interim relief in favour of Manish, stating that he is already under incarceration.

The petitioner was arrested on March 18. On April 5, a Madurai district court remanded Manish to judicial custody. He was sent to the Madurai central prison. Manish's primary plea before the Apex Court seeks interim bail and clubbing of multiple FIRs registered against him in the States of Bihar and Tamil Nadu.

Cause Title: Manish Kashyap @ Tripurari Kumar Tiwari v. Union of India & Ors. [W.P.(Crl.) No. 148/2023]