Will you act on every citizen's tweet about you? — HC asks Maha govt

Narsi BenwalUpdated: Tuesday, December 01, 2020, 11:28 PM IST
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Bombay HC | File Image

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday posed some tough questions to the Maharashtra government over the series of FIRs it had lodged against citizens criticising the state's functioning or its policies. The court asked the state government how many FIRs it would register and against how many citizens who criticised its functioning on social media.

A bench of Justices Sambhaji Shinde and Makarand Karnik posed the questions while hearing a plea filed by city resident Sunaina Holey, booked for posting certain objectionable tweets against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and his son and minister Aaditya Thackeray.

"We would like to know how many FIRs will you (state) register for posts on Twitter? Will you act against every person who posts something against you on Twitter?" Justice Shinde sought to know.

"Do you know how many actions you will have to take then?" the judge added.

The questions were raised after the bench noted the submissions of advocate Abhinav Chandrachud, who appeared for Holey.

In his submissions, Chandrachud pointed out that his client was only expressing her views regarding the state's policies.

The judges, while maintaining that one had to ensure that while exercising their fundamental rights they did not breach the rights of others, said that a balance was required to be struck.

"Ultimately, we think that there is a need to strike a balance between the interests of society and the rights of an individual citizen," the judges observed.

The bench then posted the matter for further hearing on Wednesday, with a directive to Chandrachud to clarify his stand on whether the FIR against his client could be quashed at the outset, merely by relying on its contents.

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