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"We Ignore Harsh Criticism, But What If Others Who Are In Power Sensitive": Bombay HC Grants Relief To Man Booked For Abusive Tweets Against CM

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
1 Oct 2020 2:00 PM GMT
We Ignore Harsh Criticism, But What If Others Who Are In Power Sensitive: Bombay HC Grants Relief To Man Booked For Abusive Tweets Against CM
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The Bombay High Court on Thursday heard a writ petition filed by a man booked for tweets against Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray and Tourism minister Aaditya Thackeray. Court granted protection from arrest to the petitioner after briefly hearing his counsel Dr.Abhinav Chandrachud.Division bench of Justice SS Shinde and Justice MS Karnik were hearing a petition filed by Sameet Thakkar, seeking...

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The Bombay High Court on Thursday heard a writ petition filed by a man booked for tweets against Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray and Tourism minister Aaditya Thackeray. Court granted protection from arrest to the petitioner after briefly hearing his counsel Dr.Abhinav Chandrachud.

Division bench of Justice SS Shinde and Justice MS Karnik were hearing a petition filed by Sameet Thakkar, seeking to quash an FIR registered against him at VP Marg police station for obscenity and slander.

Dr.Abhinav Chandrachud submitted that obscenity under Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code means only sexual obscenity or pornography. That mere abusive language does not amount to obscenity. There are great works of literature that have abusive language within them, Dr.Chandrachud said.

He then quoted Justice VR Krishna Iyer's words: "The dogs may bark but the caravan will pass"

Justice Justice Karnik asked: We ignore the harsh criticism that is often levelled against us, but what if others who are in power are not able to ignore it and are more sensitive?

To this, Dr.Chandrachud responded saying "Those who occupy positions of power must develop a thick skin."

Justice Shinde: "What about the dignity of the post of Chief Minister, that must be maintained".

The office of Chief Minister is such a high post that its dignity cannot be reduced by a person on the street or on twitter who abuses the Chief Minister, Dr.Chandrachud argued.

Additional Public Prosecutor SR Shinde said the police had issued a notice to Thakkar under section 41-A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, but he was yet to appear before them to record his statement.

Advocate Chandrachud said his client was willing to record his statement, but he did not do so fearing arrest.

Finally, the court directed the APP not to arrest the accused as a notice under Section 41A had been issued, and 41A doesn't contemplate arrest. Moreover, Court added that even if the police wish to add any cognizable offences, since the FIR invokes only bailable offences, the accused shall not be arrested until the next date of hearing.

Also, another matter which was very similar to the present case also came up before the same bench. This was the case of Sunaina Holey who was also booked for her tweets against Uddhav and Aaditya Thackeray. In the previous hearing, Court had asked the petitioner to visit the concerned police station after assurance from the State that she would not be arrested.

Today, the Court was informed that the Investigating Officer at Azad Maidan police station contracted COVID and was unable to record her (Holey's) statement. So, the court directed the APP that once he recovers he should issue a fresh notice to her calling her for recording her statement, and a convenient time should be fixed for the purpose.

The court also directed the APP to continue his statement that no coercive steps will be taken.

Dr.Abhinav Chandrachud appeared on behalf of the petitioner in this case as well.

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