Modi meme: experts question police’s action

Mumbai: Cyber crime and cyber law experts on Saturday questioned the Mumbai Police’s decision to register an FIR against All India Bakchod (AIB), a social media entertainment platform, and the sections invoked in the FIR.

On Thursday, AIB had broadcast a meme showing Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a ‘dog filter’ on Snapchat on their official Twitter and Instagram accounts. The tweet was reported by some users to the Mumbai Police’s official handle, and on Friday, the Cyber police station in BKC registered an FIR for defamation under the IPC, and for transmitting obscene material under section 67 of the Information Technology Act against AIB’s Twitter handle. On Friday, police said the move had been made “after due legal consultation”.


Cyber crime expert Vijay Mukhi said the police action had only lent publicity to AIB’s meme. “Many came to know about the meme after the FIR was registered, as it stoked curiousity and resulted in AIB and Tanmay Bhat gaining scores of additional followers. Mr. Bhat has done the same thing in the past, and will continue to do so, and registering an FIR against him only serves to make him a hero. I just hope they don’t arrest him, as it will turn him into a superhero,” Mr. Mukhi said.

Cyber Crime lawyer N.S. Nappinai added, “After section 66 (A) of the IT Act was scrapped, section 67 has been widely misused. This is not the first time that Mumbai Police have invoked the section where it is not applicable, as the section is basically for transmitting obscene content. Further, while there was a lot of ambiguity earlier about the definition of ‘obscene’, there are now some clear interpretations of the term, and superimposing a dog filter on the PM’s face absolutely does not fit the interpretation.”

Mr. Mukhi concurred, saying, “I don’t think the case will stand in court, but till the court reaches its verdict, AIB and Tanmay Bhat will have gained several thousand more followers. The police should have a clear policy regarding such incidents.”

DCP (Cyber) Akbar Pathan, Additional CP K.M.M. Prasanna and JCP (Crime) Sanjay Saxena could not be reached for comment, while Mumbai Commissioner of Police D.D. Padsalgikar declined to comment.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 8:54:46 PM |

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