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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

Watch what you say on social media, say lawyers

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, November 30, 2012
First Published: 00:09 IST(30/11/2012) | Last Updated: 00:11 IST(30/11/2012)

To avoid hassles while using the social media network, lawyers say social media users should exercise ‘some level of care and caution’.
High court lawyer Jamshed Mistry said, “On a larger social platform, one has to ensure that he/she does not put up content that is blasphemous or abusive in nature.

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It is better to err on the side of caution.”

He, however, added, “The principle of natural justice demands that a person who has put up a comment on a networking site be allowed to give an explanation for it. You cannot immediately book and arrest a person after a complaint, as it would be short-circuiting the procedure of law.”

He said, “If the issue is not handled with care, maybe the time will come when one would need to put up a disclaimer with every post on a networking site.” 
Lawyer Arfan Sait said, “While Article 19 of the Constitution gives you freedom of speech, it is not absolute and has some limitations.”
He said, “While putting up something on a networking site, one needs to have basic civic sense and social sensitivity. Also, youngsters should be given basic training about the Information Technology Act that will help them know what content can land them in trouble.”

IPS officer turned lawyer YP Singh said that while on most occasions there is ‘abusive discretion’ – where a complaint is filed for some ulterior motive – something that cannot be stopped, when it comes to objective discretion, one has to tread carefully while putting up something about a religious community or caste.
“There are issues such as religion, caste or even jokes of a sexual nature that need to be handled carefully. One should refrain from using abusive or filthy words on social forums. Also, care should be taken to not share unfounded information or sexually explicit content,” Singh added.

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