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Ex-IAS Officer Booked For A Tweet Regarding COVID Affected Dead Bodies: Allahabad High Court Stays Arrest

Sparsh Upadhyay
4 Jun 2021 11:17 AM GMT
Ex-IAS Officer Booked For A Tweet Regarding COVID Affected Dead Bodies: Allahabad High Court Stays Arrest
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The Allahabad High Court earlier this week stayed the arrest of a retired IAS officer who has been booked under various offences under IPC, Uttar Pradesh Public Health and Epidemic Diseases Control Act, 2000, Disaster Management Act, 2005 and IT Act for allegedly tweeting some photos and videos alleging COVID mismanagement in Uttar Pradesh with regard to COVID Dead Bodies.The bench of...

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The Allahabad High Court earlier this week stayed the arrest of a retired IAS officer who has been booked under various offences under IPC, Uttar Pradesh Public Health and Epidemic Diseases Control Act, 2000, Disaster Management Act, 2005 and IT Act for allegedly tweeting some photos and videos alleging COVID mismanagement in Uttar Pradesh with regard to COVID Dead Bodies.

The bench of Justice Ramesh Sinha and Justice Jaspreet Singh was hearing the plea of the Retired IAS office, allegation against him is that the photographs he attached with the tweet and posted on Twitter deliberately spread hatred and it resulted in spreading tension among different sections in the locality.

Arguments put forth

He submitted before the Court that by the way of his tweets he raised the issues of public and social concerns through various social media and that during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, he raised the grievances of citizens on social media like 'Twitter'.

It was further argued that the petitioner being a retired I.A.S. officer, had no intention to malign the image of the Government but he only wanted to draw the attention of the Government towards the problems faced by the citizens during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He was booked under Sections 153, 465 and 505 of I.P.C., Section 21 of the Uttar Pradesh Public Health and Epidemic Diseases Control Act, 2000, Section 54 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and Section 67 of the Information Technology as Amended Act, 2000.

It was argued that the impugned F.I.R. was nothing but an attempt to throttle the voice of dissent and is violative of freedom of speech guaranteed by the Constitution to the citizen of India and that his tweet had never intended to spread any rumour or panic among people but the objective of the tweet was that bodies of dead persons, be treated with respect and be cremated as per religious rituals.

Importantly, it was also highlighted that the National Human Rights Commission had taken cognizance of the burial of dead bodies and dead bodies floating in river Ganga and had issued notice to the State Government.

It was also pointed out that on coming to know the fact that the representative photograph, though was real but could be misused, the petitioner immediately deleted the tweet in the interest of society.

Court's order

Noting the assurance given by the counsel for the petitioner that he would be careful in future, the Court observed that prima facie, a case for interim relief was made out.

Thus, till the next date of listing or till submission of police report under section 173 (2) Cr.P.C., the arrest of the petitioner- Surya Pratap Singh was atayed.

The matter has been posted for further hearing after 6 weeks.

Case title - Surya Pratap Singh v. State Of U.P. Thru Prin. Secy. Home And Ors.

Click Here To Download Order

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