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Bombay HC quashes FIR against woman for tweeting against PM Modi, CM Thackeray

Maharashtra CM and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and Shiv Sena leader Aditya Thackeray.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday quashed an FIR against a local resident for her tweet on Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. It said, “by no stretch of imagination it can be said that the said tweet created hatred or enmity between the two groups of communities.”

 

A division bench of justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik was hearing a plea filed by Sunaina Holey, a resident of Navi Mumbai. She had tweeted about Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr. Thackeray and his son and Minister Aditya Thackeray on COVID-19 and migrants.

 

Ms. Holey was charged under sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language etc and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 500 (punishment for defamation) and 505 2 (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes) of the Indian Penal Code.

 

The bench recorded, “The approach in registering the FIR for the comments made on the twitter feed by Ms Holey on the apprehension that the same may lead to promoting hatred or enmity between different groups on the ground of religion or that she has committed an act which is prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different religious groups, is too far-fetched and remote.”

 

The 62-page-judgment read, “The tweet in question, if judged on the basis of what a reasonable and strong minded person will think of it, leaves little manner of doubt in our mind that the same is only expressing a hostile point of view. The Police’s approach towards the tweet is hypersensitive and over cautious thereby trying to scent danger in the hostile point of view expressed by Ms. Holey.”

 

The court noted, “Nothing substantial has been brought on record by the prosecution to hold that because of the said tweet, hatred or enmity was created in between two communities.”

 

It stated, “The right to express one’s views is a protected and cherished right in our democracy. Merely because the point of view of Ms. Holey is extreme or harsh it will not make a hate speech as it is only expressing a different point of view. The said tweet has still to be judged from the standpoint of what the reaction of a strong minded, reasonable or a prudent person would be.”

 

The bench said, “Though the police machinery had ample opportunity to investigate, nothing has been placed on record to indicate that the tweet led to any such disturbance.”


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Printable version | Jun 22, 2021 6:11:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bombay-hc-quashes-fir-against-woman-for-tweeting-against-pm-cm/article34488698.ece

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