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21 Oct, 140 tweets, 22 min read
Bombay High Court will continue hearing the PILs filed registering protest over the media trial being conducted in the reporting on the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.

Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni will resume the hearing at 10.30 am today.
In the previous hearing, the National Broadcasters Association (NBA) submitted that no judicial intervention was required to issue guidelines for the electronic media as there was a functional self-regulation mechanism already in place.…
Hearing begins.

Court asks ASG Anil Singh to begin with his submissions, which the Court had asked him to reply on in the previous hearing.

Court: whether the guidelines have any statutory force, and the other points, please clarify.
ASG: Why are complaints being forwarded to NBSA? I had argued previously. If a channel is a member of NBSA, then NBSA examines the complaint, they may take action.

If they do not take action, or it is inappropriate then the Ministry steps in to give appropriate action.
ASG: This has happened previously, where we have changed NBSA's directons.

The inter-ministerial committee looks after non-members of the NBSA.

ASG: We have taken action against 214 channels from 2013, all orders are by Ministry.
Court: If ministry takes an action on a broadcaster, and the broadcaster comes to the Court challenging the order that it is against his freedoms under Art. 19(1)(a) and 19(2), what will you do? How will you defend before Court of law, the Court of law will strike down the action
ASG: We will point out Art. 19(2), if it is against the provisions then we have acted in the past.

ASG: We are working on bringing all members and non-members under one umbrella for taking action.

ASG: The Government is serious, which is why we boldly mentioned before the SC.
ASG: Our compilations have all orders passed by us. How can the litigants bring such grievances. It is not that we are not taking actions. The mechanisms is as it is functioining. We are working on it.

We have already pointed out through my affidavits how we are taking actions.
ASG: and how we propose to take action in the future.

ASG: I agree with Datar's submissions. Apart from one or two channels, this self-reglatory mechanism has been functioning properly.
ASG: Even Press Council rules mention self-regulation. They are expected to adhere to the set-norms.

ASG: Self-regulation is present in print media as well.
ASG: But in electronic media, we have NBSA, and we have inter-ministerial committee.

ASG: If the matter comes to the Court, then we will justify the order with the guidelines on the basis of the Article 19(2).
Court: We appreciate your stand, and we agree that the persons who are aggrieved are not before the Court.

Court: What we are trying to understand is would only the aggrieved be entitled to approach the court? Can anyone before any grievance not approach the court?
Court: We are concerned with the broader public policy. Instead of waiting for damage, can something not be done in a preventive measure.?

We have understood what the mechanisms are so far.
ASG: We have guidelines and a code which has to be adhered to.

ASG: What can be done, to prevent - those are the conditions we have imposed.

Court: It is a voluntary organisation!
ASG: since we are on TV channels, whether you are member or not, if there is violation, the Minstry will take action, we can take action.

ASG: we have taken actions against non-members. So member or not, they are answerable to us.
Court: Let us test your argument, petition after petition has been filed, what action has the Ministry taken?

ASG: Milords, the Ministry received one complaint against a non-member, all other complaints against members have been sent to the NBSA.
ASG: If their action is not appropriate we will step in.

Court: Freedom under 19(1)(a) is supreme.
But they are air waves, which the broadcatsers use, which is a public property. How are you allowing public property to be used without regulation? They are misusing!
ASG: There are regulation, there is telecom regulating authority for airwaves.

ASG: As for 19(1)(a) and 19(2), time and again, the courts have held, the content cannot be regulated. We can license the airwaves, but not the content. This is accepted by courts.
ASG: So we own airwaves, we control license, but not the content.
ASG: What should the lakshman rekha be is the question!

ASG: I can impose terms and conditions, how do I control the content.

ASG: We control on a case to case basis. We cannot ontrol every content.

Court: just digressing a bit, we are referring you a report of HT.
Court: We want you to check the malice in that report. Kindly check with the Ministry.

ASG ends his subsmissions.

Court asks Sr. Advocate Siddharth Bhatnagar to begin his submissions on behalf of the News Broadcasters Federation.
Bhatnagar: My submission is that the guidelines in place are sufficient and I will elaborate more on this.
Bhatnagar: The NBF is a private association, largest association. It has moe than 60 members.

NBF has its own regulatory mechanism headed by a retired Supreme court judge.

NBF has set up a self regulatory body called Professional News Broadcasting Standards Organisation (PNBSO)
Former chief justice of India Jagdish Singh Khehar has been appointed as the chairman of PNBSO

Court: Has the regulatory body begun its functioning.

Bhatnagar: Milords, not yet, but my instructions are, we haven't received any complaints as of yet.
Court: Do members get honorarium when they sit on the pane;?

Bhatnagar: Since it is an important job, we do not want the members to work probono. So we are requesting all members including the Chairman to accept some honorarium, although Justice Khehar denies.
Bhatnagar reads out the guidelines of the NBF which he points out are similar to the program code.

court: Panel will review the complaint - it is as if that unresolved complaint will be sent to the regulatory body, please clarify more on this point, will they be resolving?
Bhatnagar: Milords my understanding is, the complaint will be reviewed to decide on it. It is for the layperson, it is not like a judicial review.

Court: then you shoud use the word 'enquire'.

Court: What is the provision for individual grievance?
Bhatngar: No individual is barred from approaching the federation.

Bhatnagar: I would like to start with the Press Council.
Bhatnagar: Mere censure by a panel of emminent people from the field is bad enough for the newspaper.

Similarly, it is for the panel in electronic media. NBSA, NBF all have emminent people on the panel. Censure by such people is not good for the reputation of the channel.
Bhatnagar: The restrictions on an electronic media are more stringent than a print media.

Bhatnagar: Press Council does not have a power of financial recovery, unlike the electronic media. It does not have something similar to the Cable Television Networks Act.
Bhatnagar: The press has something of a Press & Registration of Books Act 1867 which is drafted by the British.

Bhatnagar: The programme code is as it existed in 2003. The Govt is cognizant of the developing situation. It is not something that can remain static.
Bhatnagar: Kindly see the present situation.

He invites courts attention to the THE CABLE TELEVISION NETWORKS RULES, 1994.

Th e programme code has not stood frozen, they have amended it from time to time keeping up with the changing times.
Court: These are all against the cable operators.

Bhatnagr: Not so milords, these are operative against any person and even broadcasters specifically.
Court: Are these broadcatsers depended on cable operators for airing their programmes?

Bhatnagar: This is my submission. I will straightaway get to it after I finish this submisison.
Bahtnagar: The fact the programme code is changing means the Govt is involved in the media regulation.

Bhatnagar: I will give some instances. A channel was banned for 48 hours by MIB. NBA banned broadcast of Delhi riots.
Another channel was banned by MIB which was a member of the NBA.

The Govt had applied a provision that was recently amended in the rules.

There is another private body called Editors Guild - which commented against the 24 hr ban stating it was too harsh.
Bhatnagar: This is how seriously the actions of censorship are taken.

Let the perfect not be an enemy of the good.

If the government has too much control then there will be too much censorship and no freeodm of media.
Bhatnagar: SC in 2015 said "any restriction on Freedom of speech should be couched in the narrowest possible terms".

Bhatnagar: Now how do these platforms supply news.
Bhatnagar: Before that I will show what the govt has proposed to amendment to the rules 1994.

Bhatnagar: The new amendments include the broadband internet access because I do not need cable watch news now, I can do so over the internet.
Bhatnagar; May I point out that these sections will take care of the guidelines which Milord is afraid will be difficult to enforce.

Bhatnagar: May I also point out that the media may oppose this as it is too much censorship.
Read the proposed amendment here:…
Bhatnagar: Even the media channel is sometimes not aware where the discussion will lead to, because most telecasts are live.

Bhatnagar: What we need is not just pre-broadcast but also post-broadcast.
Court: The channel gives a disclaimer, that the opinions of the panelists are their own, but what do you do of posts which give out objectionable statements.

Bhatnagar: I agree, but what I am trying to say is the bonafide channels should not suffer. they have to be protected.
Bhatnagar: This has to happen on a case to case basis.

Bhatnagar: THe channels are very stringent to protect their sources.

Court: What do you do when the channel invites a witness of a case, interviews them, then the next day they say that the person is arrested.
bhatnagar: I am avoiding going into the facts, I am argung on the larger picture for now.

Bhatnagar: What you have before us is a self-regulation scheme.
Bhatnagar: Also, the aggrieved party has the option of approaching the Courts as pointed out by Datar.

Bhatnagar: I will point out the Supreme court judgment of the Sahara where the court was asked to frame guidelines on media trial.
Bhatnagar -asks the court to note the paragraph 50 of the Sahara judgment and specifically line - "Such neutralizing device (balancing test) would not be an unreasonable restriction and on the contrary would fall within the proper constitutional framework."
Read judgment here:
bhatnagar refers to Indian Express Newspapers judgment - para 32. R

Read judgement here:
Bhatnagar asks court to note - Enactment of laws providing for precensorship, seizures, interference with the transit of newspapers and demanding security deposit, imposition of restriction on the price of newspapers, on the number of pages of newspapers and the area that can ...
(contd) devoted for advertisements, withholding of Government advertisements, increase of postal rates, imposition of taxes on newsprint, canalisation of import of newsprint with the object of making it unjustly costlier etc.
Bhatnagar: The danger that we will have is this - The question of having regulator for media is puzzlig the govt for a long time.

the Govt has a proposed broadcaster bill in place. The press and the media opposes it as it will be end of freedom of the press.
Read proposed bill here:…
Bhatnagar points out various sections of the proposed bill to show how the Government control will affect the freedom of the press.
Bhatnagar: this will be the fate of media if they are bought under the Government.

This is why self-regulatory mechanism is in place and statutory mechanism is discouraged.

Bhatnagar: One interesting section is section 38 ( Power of the Central Government to issue directions)
Bhatnagar: what is also important is that the media will be mostly reporting against the government. How will there be fair reporting if the Governmetn is an interested party.
Court: You pointed out a SC judgment in the beginning, what is that?

Bhatnagar: Shreya Singhal vs U.O.I, Para 87-90, and also 94.
Let me start with Section66A

Read here:
Bhatnagar: I am citing this to show the less government intereference the better. This is why the self-regulatory mechanism has been accepted by the SC twice.

Bhatnagar: The parties which will be affected by the media coverage mostly be the govt or govt agencies.
Bhatnagar refers to the PIL filed by Mahesh Narayan Singh (lead petition in the PILs)

Reads out the prayers.
Bhatnagar then reads out the pleadings of the Nilesh Navlakha petititon - 2nd in the PILs.

Bhatnagar: I will like to point out that the aggrieved persons are not before the Court.
Court: Why don't you have suo-motu powers? why wait for complaints to come from aggrieved?

Bhatnagar: It is a valuable suggestion. I see no difficulty, except, this self-regulatory mechanism will become a checking body with retd. SC judge.

Bhatnagar: But we will consider this
Bhatnagar: Of all parties arrayed in the PILs, I will have to check who are members of the NBF.

Bhatnagar ends his submissions.

Advocate Malvika Trivedi asks for the Court's leave to make her submissions.
Court: We are not restricting your freedom of speech Madam.
Trivedi begins her submissions.

Trivedi: A lot of changes is being seen by the media. They bring public opinion to the forefront.

Trivedi: There are sufficient checks and balances in place.
Trivedi: Such a barrage of petitions have not happened before.

What Milords have to note is what the petitions seek, is it grievance against media or the shortcoming of the regulations?
Trivedi: The term "media trial" is being stretched by a certain section and not all the citizens.

Trivedi: I will first point out why Republic TV left NBA.
Advocate Malvika Trivedi is appearing for the Republic TV.
Trivedi informs the Court about the facts that lead to Republic TV leaving the NBA.

Trivedi: I say on instructions that there was no financial penalty on the channel.
Trivedi points out that there was friction between India Today channel and Republic TV, and because Republic TV felt victimised they left NBA.

Trivedi: There are lot of regional channels which have joined the NBF now.
Trivedi: It is not a regular happening, there have been some dire circumstances which led to such exit.

Trivedi refers to judgment of RK Anand and another SC judgement to point out that the importance of media.
Trivedi points out to the Bofors case, the Jessica Lal case, the Sheena Bora case (Republic TV was specifically appreciated in this case), Sunanda Parikh case.

Trivedi: In the current Hathras case, media played an important in pointing out the inefficiency of the UP Police.
Trivedi: It will always happen that the government will have a problem with the media.

Court: Please do not list out cases, we know the media's role, we appreciate that.

Court: We want to know what is this investigative journalism?
Trivedi: When the channel believes that a material fact was hidden from the public, we try to uncover the truth, that is investigative journalism.

Court: Putting up messages on the channel and then discussing evidence, is that investigative journalism?
Court: We want your reaction on what is submitted in the petitions.

Trivedi: Milords, the SC accepted there was something amiss which is why SC directed CBI to come into the picture.
Trivedi: Milord I will show to the Court from the pictures how facts have come out because the media intervened.

Trivedi: This was a public figure, public was curious.

Court: Public was furious? Percentage?

Trivedi: I am sorry milord I meant curious, curiosity.
Trivedi: The hashatgs have come from the social media, it is not us.

Court: That is the contention of the petitioners, that the media crossed the line.

Trivedi: I am explaining because I want to point out we are not settling a personal score.
court: The grievance is regarding #arrestrhea. why is this part of your channel news?

Trivedi: These are public tweets, these are public opinions.

Court: But is this investigative journalism?

Trivedi: I am submitting that the petition does not ask for relief pertaining to this
Trivedi: I am saying that the aggireved persons, the agencies, the one who has locus has not approached in this petition.

They can approach the Courts for reliefs, and seek reliefs, if aggrieved.
Court: We are asking about personal scores based on a photo in the petition. Please see that. I was present in the DB hearing and ASG made submissions. He is here, he will agree.

Trivedi: I am saying nobody is infalliable, but there are checks and balances.
The Court points out to statements made by Republic TV which is annexed in the petition.
Trivedi: What I am trying to point out is that the channels had been trying to point out facts which had otherwise not come out on record.

Trivedi: I am saying we were just stating facts.
Court: We are referring to the baisc journalism norms where a basic etiquette has to be maintained for suicide reporting. No sensational headlines, no constant repeating.

Court: You did not even leave the deceased! forget the witnesses.
Trivedi: I am saying if Milords finds those headlines objectionable, there are checks and balances for that. This petition is not for that.

Court: We are not on that.

Trivedi: I am submitting that this is not started by the media.
Trivedi: The victim's family was sharing pictres, they also wanted justice, their lawyers were giving media interviews.
Court asks Trivedi to continue after lunch break.

Before rising for the break, Court asks ASG about the newspaper article.

Read the article here:…
ASG points out that he has conveyed the message to the concerned dept, he will look into it.

The court remarks that this is a serious issues to be considered.
Court will resume the PIL hearing at 3 pm.
Hearing resumes.

Trivedi points out to a tweet in the petition which the court had asked Trivedi to seek instructions on.

Trivedi: Milords it was a fact, it was not our submission.
Trivedi: There is a context on all tweets.

Court: Do you have the right to showcase in this manner? Do not just take instructions from your client, ask them the right questions.
Trivedi: The State cannot decide which story goes out and which story does not. We have done some extensive research before putting out news and we have unearthed some hidden facts.

Trivedi: I have not put out anything beyond the report (post-mortem report) after research.
Court: You have given out details on clothes, and other items, etc.

Court: Have you looked into the inquest report?

Trivedi: the only purpose was to show that there was discrepancy what was told to the public.The public wated to know.
Trivedi: Now is no time to tell media what story to be put out or not. If there is any grievance, then complaints can be raised.

Trivedi: Results of our efforts have to be considered.

Trivedi: We only wanted transparency.
Court: Can you override other provisions for transparency? We will decide on that.

Trivedi: Ministers have given statement, public interaction with state functionaries.

Trivedi: Justice Chandrachud has orally frowned upon police officers for giving out interviews to the media.
Trivedi: In the case of Romila Thapar.

Trivedi: And the present petition has been filed by the police officers. We won't be able to put out any stories like that.

When you report on the govt machinery, there will be criticism. Courts have asked Govt to develop thick skin
court: We are not saying for once that govt polciies cannot be criticized. But we asking what is the machinery to preevnt such grievance.

Trivedi: Milords there are mechanisms, there is this ministry.
Bhambhani for NBA points out that there are fines, there are public aoplogies.

Court: At the bottom of the screen?

Bhambhani: NO at the start of the program, on prime time.

Court: How does this help?
Bhambani: It affects the channel's credibility. And there has been an improvement from the past.

Court: We only have few channels.

Bhmabhani: This only shows that not all channels are violating.
Court: Did you see the provisions on CrPC? You are journalists, you do not know the law. Why not read the provision before putting out the details, if you care so much for the truth?

Trivedi: Milord we have brought forth facts due to which there was CBI intervention.
Trivedi: Milords can it be denied that the CBI is not investigating, that there is no drug cartel.

I am saying a lot of investigations are happening because the media brought forth facts.

Milords can ask CBI, NCB, if they have a problem with media. NCB has praised the media.
Trivedi: This was a case which was not so straightforward

Trivedi: I am asking the court to see all aspects.

Court: There are defects in investigation. Who looks at the defects? Will there be supervision on every investigation? Is that your role?
Trivedi: Can the courts today say that media should not come out with the truth?

Court: We are saying you must not cross your boundary. You must not crossover your boundary.

Trivedi: I bow down to that, I have made all submissions pertaning to this matter.
Trivedi: If milords wants me to file anythign pertaining to individual tweets, I will do that.
Trivedi concludes her arguments.

Court asks her to submit a 2 page written note on her arguments.

Advocate Kunal Tandon appearing for TimesNow begins his arguments.
Tandon points out that under Rule 8.2.2 NBA has powers to take suo motu action.

Tandon: There are 3 issues - 1. What are the safeguards and mechanism available? 2. What are milords powers in pre-publication contempt and 3. defaamtion
Tandon: There is constitutional safeguards (215, 19(1)(a). 19(2), 226), statutory safeguards (guidelines of the ministry - uinking and downlinking, cable television networks act) and self-regulatory safeguards.
Tandon: Cable television networks act was only for cable operators initially.

Tandon: by 1997, there were more TV channels and then the telecom reglatory authority was brought.

When TRAI was brought, then the Broadcasting regulatory authortiy was considered.
Tandon: Parliament in 2000 amended the TRAI to regulate telecom authority, but content was still never regulated.

Tandon: From 2004, broadcast regulation began.

Tandon: thereafter three amendments were brought in the Cable Television Regulation Act.
Tandon reads out the provisions of Act 1994.

Read the act here:…
Tandon: The Central Government have been taking action against channels referring to the provisions in the Act.

Tandon: Now for self-regulatory mechanism, this comes from the Advertisement Standards Council of India. They have a self-regulaotry mechanism in place
Thse guidelines came to be formulated into a statute in the form of Cable Television Network Rules.

Tandon: Self-regulation has been acceptd in the statute as well, this has been continuing.
Tandon: There is a non-news channel association called Indian Broadcastign Foundation with a self-regulatory mechanism.

Tandon: ASCI had even applied to the Govt for statutory recognition.
Tandon: Cable Television Network is an alterego of press council.

The mechanism under it takes care of issues arising on a day to day basis.
Tandon: Lordhips may just a few submissions from Sahara.
The principle which enunciated was there can be pre-publication injunction, but that should be last resort.

Tandon reads para 33 of the Sahara judgment.
Tandon then moves on to the judgment in which the court had observed that the police should not go to press and talk of pending cases.

Tandon then refers to Sushil Sharma vs The State (Delhi Administration) judgment . Read judgment here:
Tandon: As Datar has put it, if there is anythign coming close to the administration of justice, then it should not be done.

Tandon: Regarding defamation, people in public life have to be thick skinned.
Court: If matter is under investigation, how far is is acceptable for media to report.

Court: Do not wear the hat of the adjudicator.

Tandon: I am saying the lakshman rekha is subject to popular and unpopular views.
Tandon gives an example.

Tandon: To understand the news, the whole news must be seen, not piece meal.

Tandon finishes his submissions.
Advocate appearing for ABP news begins her submissions.

She submits that there are no specific allegations against ABP News. There were 3 complaints in the #SSRcase. There were 2 warnings and 1 complaint was dropped.
Advocate for ABP makes submissions pertaining to sanctity of NBSA. There cannot be different laws for different channels, there has to be uniformity.

Second submission is that NBSA must be recognized as a statutory authority.

Court: How can we do that?
Advocate For ABP submits that all broadcatsers should not bear the brunt because of selective news channels.

Further there must be guidelines for widening powers of NBSA.

There is already a lakshmanrekha, just that all broadcasters must be brought in this umbrella.
Advocate for ABP News concludes her submissions and Advocaet Rajeev Panday appears for India Today.

Panday: We have accepted all orders of NBSA.

There are statutory mechanisms in place, Tandon has argued that.
Panday: But for self-regulatory mechanism, we have always followed and abided by.

Panday also appearing for Aaj Tak points out that there is nothing against India Today and Aaj tak in the petition.
Panday reads out excerpts from the reply filed by Aaj Tak and India Today.
Panday makes submission that the #SSRcase is not subjudice. Hence there is no contempt.

Court: What about the Section 2(c)(iii) of contempt of courts act?

Panday refers to orders of the SC discussing gag orders against the media.
Panday: We have never given any story which is against the investigating agency. There were cases flied against us, and in all counts but one, we were absolved.

We have filed a review against that one order. But we subscribe to self-regualtion. We always follow those orders.
Advocate Ankit Lohia appearing for Zee News begins his submissions.

Lohia submits that he is adopting arguments of Datar.

In addition, he makes submissions pertaining to Zee News specifically.

Lohia points out that Zee News was ordered to remove a tag line
Lohia submitted that Zee news has complied with that order and will comply with the order of putting up an apology as well.

Lohia points out that both petitions point out that checks and balances for media regulation are in place.
Lohia: Therefore there is no need for guidelines, as there is clear mention of what is the law ans what is violated, as pointed out in the petition itself.
Lohia: I am submitting that this is the law, this is the lakshman rekha. The yare effectively sayign the lakshman rekha has been laid down.

Lohia: Now the question is what happens when there is breach in the lakshman rekha.

Lohia: It depends on the case to case basis.
Lohia: That the breach of lakshman rekha is governed by the checks and balances already in place, therefore there is no need for a legislation. There are statuts, there are precedents.
Lohia: There are 3 check points for checking the lakshman rekha. Self-regulatory body, the government body and the last and most importants are courts.

Judiciary has been considered as a third pillar to keep check on the 4th pillar as per judgements.
Lohia: If we cross the lakshman rekha, the courts will keep a check on us.

If we are brought in complete control, then there will be control by a pillar which we may be criticizing.
Lohia: I as a news channel have been complying. WE have made mistakes, we may be corrected. A mistake or two cannot lead to a situation where the entire law will be affected.
Court: This direction will come at a stage when the damage is irreparable and already done. It is easy to say if there is breach, we will intervene.

Lohia: if the victims rights are affected, then that victim approaches the court and the mechanism is set in place.
Lohia: In the present case, the victim may not have approached the court for whatever reason.

Court: You are apologising for statements which you made against a person, how will the person get justice?

Court: How does a person in some remote village come to the court?
Lohia: No doubt this is hard for us lawyers, let alone those.

Court: There are poor people affected.

Lohia: There are laws, and there are consequences for breaching the law.
Lohia: The one thing which channels have to keep in mind is that the lakshman rekha has to be maintained, but then there are checks for that.

Tandon points out that there are no complaints against Times Now.

Advocate Rajesh Inamdar for petitioner points out that there is.
Court rose for the day, the hearing will continue on Friday at 12 noon.
[Sushant Singh Rajput Case] Bombay High Court hears PILs against Media Trial: LIVE UPDATES…
[Media Trial case] You did not even spare the deceased, is this investigative journalism?: Bombay High Court asks news channels

#mediatrial #SushantSinghRajputCase…

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Karnataka HC begins hearing a plea moved by PG Doctors against judgment upholding one year urban service rule.

Justices BV Nagarathna and Sanjay Gowda is hearing the plea.

Advocate Akkamahadevi Hiremath is appearing for the Petitioners in the appeal plea.

Hiremath contends that the Government has issued a notification which was made one year urban service rule compulsory for all students including Management as well as NRI students, who have studied in Private colleges. They have not availed any benefit from Govt, Hiremath.
Read 25 tweets
21 Oct
Delhi High Court to shortly begin hearing appeals preferred by CBI and Enforcement Directorate against the acquittal of all accused in 2G Spectrum case.

The appeals are at the stage of leave to appeal.

#ARaja #2G #2GAppeal

@dir_ed Image
Appeals are before Justice Brijesh Sethi.

#2GAppeal #2G
Hearing begins.
Read 19 tweets

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