The Tripura High Court on Wednesday stayed the deregistration of Daily Desher Katha, a mouthpiece of the CPM’s state unit, paving the way for the Bengali daily to resume publication.
In a letter on October 1, the Registrar of Newspapers for India (RNI) said the publication of Daily Desher Katha was being suspended based on a verdict passed by the district magistrate of West Tripura, Sandeep Mahatme. It cited “unauthorised change of ownership” as the reason behind the step.
The stay was granted by Tripura High Court Chief Justice Ajay Kumar Rastogi.
However, the respondents can file an application for modification of the interim order, the court said.
There is no restriction on publication of the newspaper anymore, the daily’s counsel Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharjee told reporters. He alleged that the West Tripura district magistrate’s order was made under political influence and termed it as an attack on freedom of the press.
Daily Desher Katha had applied to the RNI to change its ownership details in 2015. The process was not completed due to red tape, Mr Bhattacharjee said.
After fresh papers were submitted, the RNI approved the revised details of the editor, printer and publisher on October 1. The district magistrate and the sub-divisional magistrate issued a notice outside their jurisdiction on the same day and wrote to the RNI to cancel the newspaper’s registration, Mr Bhattacharjee said, adding this cannot be done without political intervention.
Gautam Das, secretary of Daily Desher Katha Society, which now runs the daily, said the newspaper will resume publication from Thursday.
In August, a complaint was registered against Daily Desher Katha for allegedly violating the Press and Registration of Books Act. The complainant had alleged that there was a mismatch between the information of editor, printer and publisher provided in the newspaper’s declaration and data maintained with the RNI, among other issues.
The daily, which had previously declared itself as a mouthpiece owned by the CPM Tripura state committee, changed its ownership declaration as a newspaper published from Daily Desher Katha Society a few months before the new BJP-Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) coalition came to power in March.