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Plea to stop action against those questioning vaccine policy

Posters criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s handling of coronavirus pandemic, in New Delhi. File   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court to direct the Delhi Police Commissioner to stop the registration of FIRs against persons, who have voiced their dissent against the Centre’s vaccination policy and COVID management by pasting posters and brochures in public places.

Advocate Pradeep Kumar Yadav said free speech and expression is guaranteed under the Constitution.

The Supreme Court in the Shreya Singhal judgment has held that sharing of information on social media is not a criminal offence under the Information Technology Act.

 

The petitioner referred to the fact that the Supreme Court, while hearing the suo motu case on COVID management, had specifically told State authorities to not take penal action against people who seek medical help or vent their grievances about COVID management on social media.

“Contrary to this, authorities are registering FIRs against the innocent persons over their hate speech against the Hon’ble PM with regard to his official functions over the second wave of COVID-19 crisis and government vaccine policies,” the petition said.

The petition mentioned the “arrest” of over 20 people in Delhi in connection with posters against the Prime Minister regarding the vaccination policy.

“At least 25 First Information Reports (FIRs) have been registered in connection with posters that surfaced across the capital questioning Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the vaccination policy in a sarcastic tone. Police said that at least 25 persons had been arrested in connection with the cases,” Mr. Yadav said in the petition.

 

The petition urged the Supreme Court to quash the FIRs.

“The petitioner is seeking quashing of FIR/complaint directing the Commissioner of Police, DGP, not to register any case/ FIR in relation to COVID-19 posters /advertisement/ brochures which surfaced in context to vaccination. Citizens have questioned about the status of vacations policy,” the plea said.


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Printable version | Jun 23, 2021 2:23:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/plea-to-stop-action-against-those-questioning-vaccine-policy/article34580066.ece

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