Two days after 23-year-old Henna Bakshi, a bravery award recipient and daughter of an army officer, was booked along with one Kamalpreet for posting abusive comments on Chandigarh traffic police's Facebook page, police were yet to contact the family.
Even as parents of Henna, a resident of Mansa Devi Complex, Panchkula, claimed that they had not been approached by police even once and that they came to know of the registration of the case through media, DGP PK Srivastava assured that no injustice would be done to anybody.
The parents of the young woman said no one had contacted them or their daughter till date to join investigation in the case. Henna and Kamalpreet were booked under sections 66-A, 67 of the IT Act at industrial area police station on a complaint by a traffic police ASI. Police are yet to arrest the accused.
Henna had posted the comments after she alleged "harassment" by Chandigarh Police when she went to get a case registered regarding theft of her car from Sector 18.
Henna had also questioned the role of a senior UT police officer. She claimed her friend called up the officer at about 1am on August 11, who in turn told them "not to disturb him". The next day on Sunday, Henna Bakshi called up the senior official who, she claimed, asserted, "I am busy playing golf. Please don't disturb me."
UT DGP PK Srivastava said, "I am looking into the incident closely. No injustice will be done to anybody."
Traffic SP Manish Chaudhary said, "I am not aware of the incident but will verify the details."
A senior police officer said on condition of anonymity, "The police could have avoided registering a case against the young woman."
Another senior police officer said abusing on the Internet or phone was a "very serious offence". If someone complains of abuse through Internet or phone and it falls under the IT Act, it is a criminal offence which is non-bailable, he maintained.
What landed Henna in trouble
She wrote at 1.22am on August 15: My white Safari registration number CH-O3R-0808 was stolen from outside my friend's house in Sector 18. You people kill us with your 'nakas' n check points. Harassing us if we are just driving around at night. When we are driving our own cars bought with our own money.
But you have no f****n clue when somebody steals that car from under your eyes n vanishes into the blue!! What policing are u ppl doing?? U challan our a** out…. I want to know … u are the freakin authorities… The police started questioning me …if I was making this whole shit up or if someone actually stole it?? Why don't you catch the real culprits n bring them to justice rather than screwing our lives with your stupid worthless policing? Who stole my car from under your noses??"
While a senior officer claimed that two pages with abusive language were loaded by Henna on Facebook, the young woman maintained she had posted only one page. Henna said, "I wrote: I have already met f****n DSPs and SHOs but all are the same and have not given me any cooperation. I wrote this not abusing any officer in particular but just in general."
How the case was registered
The post was first noticed by Chandigarh traffic police staff. They lodged a complaint with Chandigarh cyber cell, which investigated the matter. The cyber cell tracked the Internet protocol address (IP address) and through it the address of the accused. Later, a case was registered at the industrial area police station where the IP address was tracked.
Sri Parkash, incharge of cyber cell said, "We started investigating the matter after receiving a complaint from staff handling the Facebook page of Chandigarh traffic police."
City-based advocate Ajay Jagga says, "The word 'f******' sounds to me an objectionable word and some action can be taken by police, keeping in view the context and sense in which it has been uttered. Youngsters need to be very careful while using social networking sites."
Punishment under IT Act
Offences committed under sections 66-A and 67 of the IT Act are punishable with a jail term of more than two years and are non-bailable. Section 66-A of IT Act, 2000, penalises for sending false and offensive messages through communication services and entails imprisonment for a term that may extend to three years along with fine. Section 67 explains what can be construed obscene and lists the Acts in relation to such obscenity, which are illegal.
According to lawyers, once the case is registered, either the accused surrenders before police or the latter arrests the accused. It is for the accused to decide whether to apply for bail or not. Once bail application is filed in court, notice is issued to the state or the police. They file reply and then it is up to the court to grant bail or not.
In case the accused is not arrested, (s)he can apply for pre-arrest bail or anticipatory bail. The In case the bail is rejected, the accused has the right to move higher courts. The accused can also seek pardon in writing on Facebook or by writing to police authorities that the intention was not to abuse anyone and it was unintentional.