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Legal

Updated on: Sunday, December 12, 2021, 07:45 AM IST

FPJ Legal: Only one Muslim insulted, not the entire community, says Bombay HC while quashing FIR against man for sharing objectionable FB post

Bombay HC  | Photo: Representative Image

Bombay HC | Photo: Representative Image

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The Bombay High Court recently quashed an FIR lodged against a man for an objectionable post against an NCP leader and allegedly hurting the sentiments of the Muslim community.

The court held that the post wasn't intended to insult the entire Muslim community at large but was restricted to only one person.

A bench of Justices Atul Chandurkar and Govind Sanap also refused to accept the "repentance" expressed by Pawan Yadav, 39, and ordered him to pay Rs 30,000 to the Maharashtra Police Welfare Fund.

Yadav had moved the bench seeking to quash the FIR lodged against him for a post that he shared on Facebook. The said post was originally authored by someone else but Yadav had shared it on his profile.

The post criticised one Tarik Anwar for leaving the NCP, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the party supremo Sharad Pawar. The post roughly stated, "Anwar, a Muslim, was a pig".

Taking note of the post, the judges said, "It is seen that there is a reference to the names of three persons. The so-called statement alleged to have been attributed to the Muslim community at large cannot be made out from this post."

"In order to involve a community, the communication in issue on perusal must clearly indicate the plurality. In this case, the aspect of plurality involving the entire Muslim community is missing," the judges held.

The judges further said that while attributing a particular act to Anwar in the context of the remaining two persons mentioned in the Facebook post the reference of ‘Muslim’ was singularly co-related with Anwar.

"In our opinion, prima facie analysis of this fundamental piece of evidence relied upon by the prosecution would show that based on the same, the intention as required to be made out or satisfied could not be attributed to Yadav," the judges said, adding, "On prima facie analysis of the Facebook post it could be said that it was singularly addressed to Anwar being a Muslim. It clearly indicates that it was not attributed to the Muslim community at large."

The bench further noted that Yadav had "simply circulated" the post as received on his Facebook account to the other group members. It also considered the contention of Yadav that he "mistakenly" shared the post and didn't intend to hurt the sentiments of Muslims as such. He even tendered an apology for the same.

"The FIR indicates that on account of this unwarranted act and exercise on the part of Yadav, the police machinery has been made to spend its time. In the ordinary course of nature, he ought to have given thought to the factual situation before forwarding and circulating the Facebook post," the judges opined.

"In our view, repentance for the act committed, after two years, could not be said to be an aspect reflecting upon the bonafide of person. In our view, in order to take care of this situation which has been created due to the unmindful act of Yadav, it would be necessary to compensate the state," the bench said while ordering Yadav to pay Rs 30,000.

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Published on: Saturday, December 11, 2021, 11:09 PM IST
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