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HC quashes FIR against man for Facebook post

A Facebook logo is displayed on a smartphone in this illustration taken

The Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court recently quashed an FIR against a man for allegedly hurting the feelings of a minority community through a social media post. However, the man was directed to pay ₹20,000 to the investigating officer (IO) “as compensation for valuable time spent by the police machinery”.

A Division Bench of Justices A.S. Chandurkar and G.A. Sanap was hearing an application filed by Pradeep Yadav, 39, from Chandrapur seeking to quash an FIR against him filed on October 1, 2018. Gaus Siddiki, 32, filed a FIR against him for promoting a feeling of enmity between different religious groups.

On September 29, 2018, Mr. Yadav uploaded a post on Facebook that had been forwarded to him. Mr. Siddiki said that the post hurt the sentiments of Muslims and, subsequently, filed an FIR.

The advocate appearing for Mr. Yadav said his client was not the author of the post and that he simply forwarded the post without reading it properly and that it was a mistake on his part. It was not his intention to create tension or enmity between two communities. Mr. Yadav tendered an apology and made his stand clear and Mr. Siddiki accepted the same.

The court said, “In our opinion, the post was already available in the public domain. The applicant (Mr. Yadav) is not the author of the said post and he simply circulated the said as received on his Facebook account to the other group members.”

The Bench went on to say, “However, on account of this unwarranted act and exercise on the part of the applicant, the police machinery has been made to spend its time. In the ordinary course of nature, the applicant ought to have given thought to the factual situation before forwarding and circulating the Facebook post. In order to take care of this situation which has been created due to the unmindful act on the part of the applicant, it would be necessary to compensate the IO. We, therefore, deem it appropriate to direct the applicant to pay a reasonable compensation to the IO for valuable time spent for this investigation by the police machinery. In our view, interest of justice would be met if the applicant is directed to pay compensation of ₹20,000.”


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Printable version | May 12, 2022 11:50:15 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/hc-quashes-fir-against-man-for-facebook-post/article37935217.ece