Punjab & Haryana High Court: Freedom Of Speech Does Not Allow People To Make Derogatory Remarks Against A Community/Gender.

 

On 26th November, the Punjab and Haryana High Court observed that “Freedom of speech does not entitle a person to make derogatory remarks/posts against any community or gender”

Justice Alka Sarin remarked, while addressing a petition for granting of regular bail. The petition for granting of regular bail to the applicant under Sections 153-A, 295-A and 505 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Section 3(1)(V) of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, was dismissed.

A complaint was made by Savita Kajal and Kuldeep Bhukkal that accused Vijender Sarsawa (here the petitioner) of posting objectionable comments on Savita Kajal’s Facebook post of Baba Saheb Bhimrao Ambedkar. The subsequent FIR alleged that the accused intended to create disharmony in society through his comments that used filthy language and targeted women belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Muslim women.

The petitioner’s counsel argued that the ingredients of Section 153-A, 295-A and 505 have not been made out. He also pointed out that the petitioner has been in custody since 24-09-2020.

Previously, he submitted before the Court that the person who filed the complaint is a chronic litigant and habitually files frivolous complaints with duplicitous motives to extort money from innocent victims.

Additionally, it was put forth that even perusal of the messages, texted on Facebook by the petitioner, were messages that he received and subsequently forwarded. His actions did not intend to offend the complainant or any other citizens of India.

The order given by the Court stated that a bare perusal of the evidence of the posts in question prima facie reveals that along with being offensive in nature, the posts also target particular communities. The High Court also observed that the petitioner and the petition appended as Annexure just one of the posts, while multiple posts of the petitioner were attached along with the status report.

Considering the above, in view of the above, the Court cannot grant regular bail to the Petitioner. On these grounds, the petitioner’s bail application was dismissed.

 

Case title – Vijender Kumar v. State Of Haryana [CRM-M-34577-2020]

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