The Bombay High Court on Wednesday observed that the order passed by Mumbai Police dated April 10 prohibiting people from disseminating information through social media platforms like Whatsapp, Twitter, Facebook, Tik Tok, Instagram etc was prima facie done with the objective of protecting people from false or incorrect information about Covid-19.
Justice RK Deshpande via video conferencing facility set up in courtroom number at the High Court, heard the writ petition filed by one Pankaj Rajmachikar and noted that there was no urgency in the matter directed the registry to list the matter in regular course.
While Advocate Sandeep Parikh appeared on behalf of the petitioner, Government Pleader Poornima Kantharia along with AGP Kedar Dighe appeared on behalf of the State.
The Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations) Pranaya Ashok issued the order dated April 10, 2020 under Section 144 of CrPC stating that there has been widespread dissemination of fake or false news through social media platforms like Whatsapp, Twitter etc.
Moreover, the order states that any content which is derogatory or discriminatory towards a particular community or religion, causing panic and confusion among the general public; or spreads any misinformation against government functionaries and steps taken by them in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19 virus, the concerned individual posting such content would be liable for prosecution.
"The complaint is in respect of the directions issued in terms of paragraph 4 therein, prohibiting the persons from disseminating the information through Messages, Social media platforms like Whatsapp, Twitter, Facebook, Tik Tok, Instagram, etc. Prima facie, the object of issuing the order seems to genuinely protect the persons from false and incorrect information being provided in respect of COVID-19 disease, which is spread all over."
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