Is Forwarding Social Media Post Equal To Endorsing It? SC To Examine On Tuesday
Many social media users, who have been believing that the disclaimer ‘Retweets/Shares does not mean endorsement’ will shield them from any prosecution for the posts they share, have become cautious after the recent Madras High Court ruling in S.Ve. Shekher case.
But now they may wait for Supreme Court to give a definite answer on this as the Journalist turned BJP Leader has already approached it assailing the Madras High Court order that rejected his anticipatory bail plea.
On mentioning the matter before the CJI led bench, the Court has listed the matter before the Vacation Bench on 22.5.2018, coming Tuesday.
Madras HC Order
S Ve Shekher, who allegedly shared a derogatory Facebook post on women journalists, had approached the Madras High Court seeking anticipatory bail.
Before the High Court, it was contended that the complaint reveals no offence under Section 505 (1) (c) of the IPC as it was a message received by the accused from certain individual which was forwarded by him and he is not its author.
Rejecting the said contention, the Justice S. Ramathilagam categorically observed: “Forwarded message is equal to accepting the message and endorsing the message… What is said is important, but who has said it, is very important in a society because people respect persons for the social status… When a celebrity like person forward messages like this, the common public will start believe it that this type of things are going on. This sends a wrong message to the society at a time when we are talking about women empowerment… The language and the words used are not indirect but a direct abusive obscene foul language which is not expected from a person of this calibre and age who claims to be a literate with lot of credential with lot of followers… Instead of being a role model to his followers he sets a wrong precedent. Daily we see young emotional boys getting arrested for doing this type of activities in social medias. Law is same to everyone and people should not loose faith in our judiciary. Mistakes and crimes are not same. Only children can make mistakes which can be pardoned, if the same is done by elderly people it becomes an offence.”