The Supreme Court (SC) has dismissed a demand to inquire into the reported 'toolkit' case. In a verdict on Monday, the SC has labelled such material as propaganda by a political party. It has also stated that those who disagree with it can ignore it.
A toolkit is a media outreach and social campaign document. The controversy over toolkits gained momentum in May, when BJP leaders uploaded a copy of it on Twitter, alleging that the Congress was building a biased narrative against the BJP government concerning handling the pandemic and the Central Vista project. Congress countered by claiming that the toolkit was forged.
Demands In PIL
Lawyer Shashank Shekhar Jha filed the Public Interest Litigation (PIL). He wanted a federal investigating agency like NIA (National Investigation Agency) to investigate the role of Congress in the matter. He wanted them to determine whether the toolkit's release made offences under criminal conspiracy, sedition, or the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. The petition demanded that the Election Commission suspend Congress' registration on the establishment of any charges, reported Hindustan Times.
The lawyer also wanted SC to prevent political parties from putting up hoardings that project the prime minister or the government of the country poorly, ban the usage of funerals and dead bodies, and ban blaming any particular religion for spreading coronavirus in India.
However, the bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah found the PIL to be unclear and its requests "frivolous". It stated, "India is a democracy. Such kind of general orders cannot be passed. People who are aggrieved have other remedies (to lodge criminal cases) under law." Eventually, Jha withdrew the petition.
Commenting on Jha's demand to ban hoardings that affect the prime minister's image or the country's image, the bench said that these were general directions and advised him to approach with specific cases.