GUWAHATI: In BJP-ruled Tripura, Opposition CPI-M’s mouthpiece “Daily Desher Katha”, a Bengali daily, has been banned for allegedly violating the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867.
The 40-year-old newspaper was served a notice in this regard by the office of Registrar of Newspapers for India (RNI).
In the notice sent to its publisher, additional press registrar, K Satish Nambudiripad, wrote: “The Office of the Registrar of Newspapers for India is in receipt of an email from the office of the district magistrate (DM) and collector, West Tripura, Agartala, enclosing a communication from sub-divisional magistrate, Sadar, West Tripura…cancelling the authentication as recorded by him over the declaration made in form 1 by (editor) Shri Samir Paul, s/o Late Sudhir Paul, regarding the Bengali daily newspaper Daily Desher Katha.
“Accordingly this office is treating the certificate of registration…as invalid and the certificate of registration so issued stands withdrawn”.
Earlier, a local, Shyamal Debnath, lodged a complaint with the DM of West Tripura alleging that the newspaper had violated the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867.
“When we received the complaint, we issued notices to both parties. We conducted hearings for four times. Accordingly, we told the opponent parties to bring all documents regarding the change of ownership, printer, editor as well as revised certificate. We asked them to produce documents but they failed to produce the declarations of change of ownership from CPM party to Desher Katha Society. The lawyer pleaded that this is a serious violation of provisions of the Press and Registration Act. Without proper declarations and change, they cannot print the name of the owner in the newspaper…
“We found that Sections 5 (1) and 5 (2e) were grossly violated. Accordingly, the declarations were cancelled and after the cancellation of the declarations, the RNI cancelled the certificate of registration. The RNI took the action immediately,” West Tripura DM Dr. Mahatme Sandeep Namdeo told TNIE.
He said the changes in the daily were made in 2012 and 2015 but without following appropriate procedures. Their certificates are not updated, Namdeo said. He added that the newspaper could now move the appellant board for redressal of grievances.
Meanwhile, terming the ban as “illegal”, the newspaper said the DM had acted according to the “political orders” of the BJP government.