Mumbai: No urgent relief for student who tweeted against NCP chief Sharad Pawar

A division bench of Justices SS Shinde and Milind Jadhav was hearing a petition filed by Nikhil Bhamre seeking quashing of the five FIRs filed against him in the various police stations in the state

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Monday, June 06, 2022, 08:13 PM IST
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Sharad Pawar | PTI

The Bombay High Court on Monday refused to grant urgent bail to a 22-year-old student, who was arrested last month for an alleged objectionable tweet against NCP chief Sharad Pawar, observing that the “fundamental rights are not absolute”.

A division bench of Justices SS Shinde and Milind Jadhav was hearing a petition filed by Nikhil Bhamre seeking quashing of the five FIRs filed against him in the various police stations in the state. Pending heareing in his plea, he has sought that he be released on bail. Alternatively he has sought that the FIRds against him be clubbed together.

Sibhash Jha, Bhamre's advocate, argued that that it was unfortunate that this was happening to a young man in Mahartashtra and “we are living in a democratic country”.

However, the court remarked that 22-years was not a young age and at this age there has to be some “responsibility”.

Justice Shinde remarked: “Fundamental rights we assert is subject to restrictions. Fundamental rights are not absolute. No one has the right to comment on someone else's private life.”

“Merely because one has the right does not mean he or she can exercise this right without any restriction,” added Justice Shinde.

Jha informed the court that based on just one tweet, five FIRs were filed against Bhamre in the state including the one at Goregaon in Mumbai and one at Pune. He also said that an actor, Ketaki Chitale has also approached the HC seeking relief. “There are 13 FIRs against the actor for one tweet,” said Jha.

Jha further argued: “Under the garb of having reasonable restrictions there will be no tweets, no criticism.”

He pointed put recent judgment of the Supreme Court in Arnab Goswami's case which said that there cannot be multiple FIRs for offence and the dame has to be clubbed.

Additional public prosecutor KV Saste sought time to file their reply saying that the investigation was still on.

The HC directed the state government to file a progress report of probe against Bhamre giving details of the all the FIRs and the status of investigation in each case.

Jha then requested the court to release Bhamre on bail.

The judges, however, said such an order cannot be passed on the first date of hearing.

The HC has kept the matter for hearing on June 10.

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