The Madras High Court recently imposed a condition of staying away from social media for one year for granting anticipatory bail to a Tamil Nadu resident who was booked for an alleged derogatory Facebook post against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The police had registered an FIR against Kanyakumari resident Jabin Charles under Section 505 (ii) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 67B of the Information Technology Act for posts relating to the Prime Minister.
"The petitioner had posted a highly derogatory post pertaining to the Hon'ble Prime Minister of India in the face book", observed the Court
Justice G R Swaminathan of Madurai Bench allowed his anticipatory bail applications on the undertaking by the lawyer that he will not use social media for a year.
"The petitioner's counsel, on instructions, gives an undertaking that the petitioner would file an affidavit expressing his apology before the trial Magistrate. The apology should be worded in such a way that the petitioner expresses his regret. It should be evident that he has realized his mistake.
The petitioner's counsel, on instructions, gives an further undertaking that for the next one year, the petitioner will not be in the social media.
Recording the said undertaking of the petitioner, I am inclined to grant anticipatory bail to the petitioner with certain conditions.", observed Justice Swaminathan.
The Court has clarified that if the petitioner is found using social media, contrary to their undertaking, the prosecution could move the court for cancelling the anticipatory bail.
Justice Swaminthan imposed a similar condition in another case as well, where a man was booked for an alleged offensive post against Muslims.
That was in the application seeking pre-arrest bail filed by one R Alexander @ Mahadev, who was booked under Sections 153A and 505(ii) of IPC for offending the sentiments of Muslim community.
Deprecating the conduct of the petitioner, the judge remarked :
"The conduct of the petitioner cannot be appreciated. If the petitioner thinks that he is upholding his dharma by indulging in such acts, he is sadly mistaken"
He was also granted bail on a similar condition to stay off social media for a year.
Click here to download order in the case of Charles
Click here to download order in the case of Mahadev
Read Order in the case of Charles
Read Order in the case of Mahadev