12 Nov 2022 7:40 AM GMT
Observing that India's secular thread and fraternity cannot be assumed to be so feeble that it would "break or get bruised" on "random statements of selfish politicians", a Delhi Court has dismissed a complaint filed against Kerala MLA K.T. Jaleel over his recent remarks regarding Kashmir on social media. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Harjeet Singh Jaspal of Rouse Avenue Courts...
Observing that India's secular thread and fraternity cannot be assumed to be so feeble that it would "break or get bruised" on "random statements of selfish politicians", a Delhi Court has dismissed a complaint filed against Kerala MLA K.T. Jaleel over his recent remarks regarding Kashmir on social media.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Harjeet Singh Jaspal of Rouse Avenue Courts said that the society's outrage alone is not justification for suppressing free speech, while dismissing the complaint case filed by Advocate G.S. Mani.
"The court is mindful of the fact that the alleged statements of the accused are unpopular, outrages and are rather offensive views of the author however, it must be kept in mind that the freedom of speech protects actions that the society may find very offensive. The society's outrage alone is not justification for suppressing free speech."
Mani had sought registration of FIR against the MLA under sections 124A, 153A, 153B, 504, 505 (1) and 505(2) of IPC alleging that he made various anti national remarks through his social media post.
As per Mani's plea, Jaleel's tweeted: "…the territory of Jammu Kashmir as Indian Occupied Jammu Kashmir in which people living are not happy & the territory of Pakistan Occupied Jammu Kashmir as Azad Kashmir which mean independence territory."
The court rejected the argument that Jaleel's remark concerning Kashmir or Pakistan Occupied Kashmir is likely to create enmity between Hindus and Muslims.
The judge said it is "absolutely incorrect and rather foolish" to believe that either of the two communities does not consider Kashmir as an integral part of India.
"Both Hindus and Muslims and all citizens of all religions, idolize the idea of the Kashmir being an unalienable part of the territory of India and the idea of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir being called "Azad Kashmir" will equally anguish and disgust both the communities or rather every Indian of every community," the court said.
The judge also recorded its anguish over Jaleel's purported statement as well as the averments in the complaint suggesting that there can be a law and order situation and enmity between Hindus and Muslims "merely on a loose and incorrect statement of an irresponsible politician."
"The social set up, the secular thread and fraternity in democratic Indian back ground cannot be assumed to be that feeble that it would break or get bruised on random statements of selfish politicians and I can proudly say the same about national integration as well. It is once again taken on record that there is no breach of public peace etc. consequent to the alleged tweet and the tweet in question has already been deleted," the court said.
Observing that freedom of speech and expression opens up channels of free discussion of issues in a democracy, the court said the said right embraces within its scope the "freedom of propagation and interchange of ideas, dissemination of information which would help formation of one's opinion and view point and debates on matters of public concern."
The court also observed that since an FIR was already registered in Kerala regarding the tweet in question, a second or subsequent FIR was not permissible as per law.
Further noting that the original tweet had already been deleted, the court rejected Mani's argument that the same amounted to an offence under IPC.
"The alleged statement was admittedly made in August 2022, despite lapse of more than three months, there is nothing on record to show any breach of public peace, violence etc," the court said.
It added: "The statement of the accused, even if it is assumed to be made in the manner and in terms as the applicant suggests (original tweet unavailable), though completely incorrect, politically, factually and socially, it cannot be called an offence under the aforesaid provisions of law, for the plain reading does not suggest a calculation to promote a feeling of enmity or hatred between different religions/castes/groups or an imputation prejudicial to national integration or a call to raise arms against the sovereign state etc."
The court said that the statement appeared to have been made in haste with an aim to get "undue political mileage" by sacrificing the factual correctness and the truth itself.
"The maker of the statement ought to be a person of misconceived knowledge, misconstrued facts and misplaced beliefs. Thus the statement by itself ought to be condemned in strictest words," the court added.
The court was of the view that the alleged statement "the people of Kashmir are not happy" made by Jaleel can be called his opinion (though unsupported by any authority or survey etc. and is arguably incorrect) and was thus stand protected by the fundamental freedom under Article 19.
"Freedom of speech is the bulwark of democratic government. This freedom is essential for the proper functioning of the democratic process. The freedom of speech and expression is regarded as the first condition of liberty. It occupies a preferred position in the hierarchy of liberties giving succour and protection to all other liberties. It has been truly said that it is the mother of all other liberties," said the court.
Title: G.S. Mani Vs. Commissioner of Police Delhi & Ors.
Delhi Court dismisses complaint against Kerala MLA KT Jaleel over his alleged remarks on Kashmir on social media."India's secular thread & fraternity cannot be assumed to be that feeble that it would break or get bruised on random statements of selfish politicians," court said. pic.twitter.com/qwTN8FPpUi— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) November 12, 2022
Delhi Court dismisses complaint against Kerala MLA KT Jaleel over his alleged remarks on Kashmir on social media."India's secular thread & fraternity cannot be assumed to be that feeble that it would break or get bruised on random statements of selfish politicians," court said. pic.twitter.com/qwTN8FPpUi