22 - 10 - 2018

‘Daily Desher Katha’ publication ban withdrawn, HC stays order

Agartala, Oct 10, 2018:The High Court of Tripura by an order on Wednesday stayed the order passed by DM (West) Dr. Sandip Mahate putting a banning publication of state CPI (M)'s Party organ Daily Desher Katha on feeble ground.

The Registrar of Newspapers of India ( RNI) had also played a dubious game by  first displaying correct records and documents of Daily Desher Katha in its official website but then within a short while withdrew the same.The newspaper authority had moved the high court of Agartala with a writ petition which was heard by chief justice of High Court Ajay Rastogi . The chief justice quashed the DM's order and ordered resumption of publication of Daily Desher Katha with status quo  ante-that is with previous categorization and status. The case for Daily Desher Katha was argued by eminent Calcutta-based lawer Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharjee.

Its mentionable that  a  man named  Shyamal Debnath from Tarapur vilage Sidhai Mohanpur had filed a complaint questioning the transfer of ownership of Daily Desher Katha  and the DM (West) acting under political pressure banned the publication Daily Desher Katha, editor Samir Paul on October 6 moved  high court against the decision of the Registrar of Newspapers for India (RNI) to cancel its registration.

 The RNI order stated that its decision to revoke the certification was based on the Agartala district collector’s information that a subordinate state official had “cancelled” the “authentication” of the declaration submitted by the newspaper’s editor about the change in ownership of the daily.

A preliminary investigation was conducted by the District Magistrate of West Tripura Sandeep Namdeo Mahatme after a complaint was registered accusing the newspaper of violating several sections of the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867. He found that the complaint had substance.

The complainant had alleged that there was a mismatch between the information of editor, printer and publisher provided in the newspapers’ declaration and data maintained with the RNI, among other issues.

The daily, which had previously declared itself as a mouthpiece owned by the CPI(M) Tripura state committee, changed its ownership declaration as a newspaper published from Daily Desher Katha Society. Speaking to The Wire, Rahul Sinha, a senior reporter with the daily had said that the RNI was informed of all the changes and all relevant documents and affidavits were submitted to the collector who failed to update the records.

The newspaper authorities reportedly failed to provide the necessary evidence proving that the Daily Desher Katha Society was formed in 2013 when the issue came up for hearing. The newspaper officials have alleged that this is all a part of a series of attacks by the BJP government in the state.