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Lockdown tweet: Bombay HC orders quashing of FIR against Navi Mumbai resident | Navi Mumbai News – Times of India

Lockdown tweet: Bombay HC orders quashing of FIR against Navi Mumbai resident | Navi Mumbai News - Times of India

The Bombay HC bench said that woman’s tweet had not named any particular community and did not create any enmity between communities.

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Wednesday quashed a criminal case against Navi Numbai resident Sunaina Holey over her alleged social media post last April related to a large gathering near Bandra Masjid in Mumbai.
The case registered last April against her by the Azad Maidan police station was for allegedly promoting communal disharmony.
She said she had tagged chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and his son, Aditya Thackeray, a minister and former CM Devendra Fadnavis to bring the situation to the attention of the leaders.
The HC bench of justice S S Shinde and justice MS Karnik said the tweet must be judged from the point of view of a reasonable strong-minded person and it did not reveal any offence.
The HC bench had in January reserved for judgment her petition.
The state, through its special senior counsel Manoj Mohite, said said while her tweet was not responsible for crowds gathering outside Bandra Terminus, but it made it look like the gathering was all of one community where one man was trying to blame the Prime Minister for the pandemic.
Holey has been booked in three different First Information Reports (FIRs) for several tweets including a video and her allegedly ‘offensive’ posts against the CM and Adtiya Thackeray last July.
Her counsel Abhinav Chandrachud, arguing for quashing of one of the FIR, said not only there was no case made out, it was a question of freedom of speech, a valuable right.
The state denied that the police were “vindictive’’ as alleged by her and said that the FIR was filed by a special officer who monitors social media handles.
“The country was in turmoil. Throughout the country there was a public order situation, especially at Bandra station. One Muslim man tried to address the crowd. We do not know if the crowd was only of one community or mixed religion,’’ he said adding it was a “migrants’ issue and utter chaos,’’ Mohite had argued, pleading against the quashing of the FIR based only on the contents of the post, when circumstances that prevailed, intention of accused and consequences are still under investigation.
The bench asked if anything happened at any other place? And also whether “circumstances aggravated’’ by someone else’s interpretation of her tweet.
Mohite said Holey’s tweet was retweeted and when the judge then asked “what happened then?’’ He had said the investigations were still on.
The bench had however in January while concluding the hearing had said, “ultimately we have to view it from a prudent man’s point of view.’’ It added, along with freedom of speech, individuals must maintain “dignity’’ in their posts.
Holey’s counsel Chandrachud had rebutted the state’s arguments and questioned Mohite’s claim of her as an “influencer” and said in the last nine months the police have been unable to point out any untoward incident and neither did she say anything about trains or Tablighi Jamaat or any community leading to the spread. If at all, the onus could be on a follower who commented on her tweet and Holey cannot be held responsible for something someone said by distorting her tweet.
Chandrachud had also said ministers also tweet and Aditya Thackeray has about 12,500 tweets, but that doesn’t make him a professional tweeter. He had also said her tweet just referred to a community “to point to a mosque, just for the location.”
Citing a 1971 landmark US Supreme Court majority ruling that said “It is often true that one man’s vulgarity is another’s lyric’’, Chandrachud had cited Supreme Court of India’s judgment to show that foreign court findings had a persuasive value too.
The United States’ SC had said, “the constitutional right of free expression is powerful medicine in a society as diverse and populous as ours. It is designed and intended to remove governmental restrains from the arena of public discussion…in the hope that use of such freedom will ultimately produce a more capable citizenry and more perfect polity…’’ The US Supreme court had by its Judgment established that the government generally cannot criminalize display of “profane words in public places.”

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