The Madras High Court on Friday dismissed an anticipatory bail petition filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) functionary Sowdha Mani in a case booked against her for tweeting another person’s video message which alleged that only Hindu temples are being demolished in the State by citing court orders for removal of encroachments and that other religious institutions on encroached lands are left untouched.
After extracting the entire message in the video attacking the State government as well the judiciary, Justice R. Pongiappan wrote: “The above said message, is nothing but against the government and also against the judiciary. By way of the said message, the petitioner criticises the judgment rendered by an appropriate forum and if these type of messages are forwarded, definitely people would lose faith in the judiciary.”
Though it was argued on behalf of her that she was not the author of the message and that she had only shared it on Twitter, the judge said, being an educated person, she must have exercised her discretion and decided not to share such messages containing defamatory content against the judiciary. “If these kind of petitioners are released on bail, they may try to tamper the witness and hamper the investigation,” he wrote.
Holding that he is not inclined to grant advance bail to her, the judge rejected her plea. The police had booked her under Sections 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riots), 153(1)(b) (circulating rumours to cause alarm among people or to disturb public tranquility) and 505(2) (circulating statements promoting enmity, hatred or ill will between classes) of Indian Penal Code.