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BJP Leader S Ve Shekhar Gets Interim Protection From SC In ‘Facebook Forwarding Of Derogatory Post On Women Journalists’ Case

By way of interim relief to journalist and BJP leader S. Ve. Shekhar, the Supreme Court vacation bench of Justices A. M. Khanwilkar and Navin Sinha, on Tuesday, directed that no coercive action may be initiated against him in connection with the FIR registered under sections 504, 505(1)(c) and 509 of the IPC and section 4 of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Women Harassment Act for allegedly sharing a derogatory Facebook post on women journalists.

The bench issued notice to the state of Tamil Nadu on his SLP, arising out of the May 10 judgment of the Madras High Court refusing his anticipatory bail plea, holding that sharing or forwarding of a message in social media equals the acceptance and endorsement of the view expressed therein. The matter will now be heard on June 1.

“My house has been vandalised…the next day, the FIR was filed…Your Lordships may allow me to be protected in the interim…else, this petition will become infructuous…”, prayed the Advocate appearing on behalf of the petitioner on Tuesday.

In the impugned judgment, the High Court had observed, “No one has any right to abuse women, and if done, it is a violation of rights. When calling a person with community name itself is a crime, using such unparliamentarily words is more heinous…Words are more powerful than acts…When a celebrity-like person forwards such messages, the common public will believe that these types of things are going on…”

Forwarding Social Media Posts Equal To Endorsing It: Madras HC Denies Anticipatory Bail To BJP Leader S Ve Shekher [Read Judgment]

The bench had also noted, “there cannot be any harsher words than this which portraits that all working women coming up in life are sacrificing their chastity. The future of such working women is at stake. Instead of wiping out the wrong impression about working women among the public these words create fear and anxiety among people who want to pursue a career. After seeing these forwarded words from a person who is popular and has lot of connections with media people for long, the public will look at every working woman with a suspicious eye…”

The present petitioner had contended before the High Court that he had received the concerned message from a friend and, under the bona fide impression, the message being from one who usually forwarded “good and patriotic messages”, he had forwarded the same without reading the contents and knowing its nature. Subsequently, he had deleted the post as it was not at all acceptable to him and condemnable in nature.

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  • Ashok Leekha says:

    The act by a journalist in a social media is unpardonable. The reason submitted they forwarded w/o reading from a man of his standing is difficult to digest. However, the Hon’ble SC has given him a temporary relief till the case is finally adjucated on sound evidence and reasoning. Adv ( Col) Ashok Leekha

  • Vijayashankar Na says:

    This is a politically motivated complaint on which the Court should have applied moderating influence. Court just reiterated the argument of the complainant’s counsel in the final order without appreciating the overall effect of saying “Forwarding of Facebook post is equivalent to endorsement”. This conclusion directly contradicts the Freedom of Expression right which SC upheld while scrapping Section 66A of ITA 2008. Media went overboard with this argument and created a false perception in the minds of public. This needs to be corrected

  • NILAMANI PADHEE says:

    On the face of it , and the circumstances leading to the case being heard by the HC , and the observations thereof, it appears that Mr. Shekhar , after realising his mistake tried to do a volte face. Perhaps the realisation came a bit late if we go by the sequence of events narrated and the subsequent deleting the post. Nevertheless, his plea that he forwarded the message without reading it and acted in good faith is far from convincing . He is trying to plead innocence , while he has not hehaved like one, particulary when he seems to be enjoying some influential status,i,e people do follow him in social as well as other media. In such a situation , he can not be given a benefit of doubt and should be treated appropriately . However, in our judicial system, everyone has the reight to be heard and hence his approaching the apex court should be treated as his democratic right. Having said that, the fact his role in this episode is deplorable and condemnable , he must be punished as per law.

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