Freedom of speech does not confer right to speak without responsibility: Allahabad high court - Hindustan Times
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Freedom of speech does not confer right to speak without responsibility: Allahabad high court

ByJItendra Sarin, Prayagraj
Jan 30, 2023 12:15 AM IST

The present FIR was lodged against the accused at Nawabad police station of Jhansi district on May 31, 2022, alleging that they had tampered with photos and used abusive language and, thereafter made it viral on social media.

Observing that the right to freedom of speech does not confer upon citizens the right to speak without responsibility, the Allahabad high court has dismissed a petition filed by a woman who had sought quashing of proceedings against her for using abusive language and releasing obscene material on social media.

The Allahabad high court has dismissed a petition filed by a woman who had sought quashing of proceedings against her for using abusive language and releasing obscene material on social media. (REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE )
The Allahabad high court has dismissed a petition filed by a woman who had sought quashing of proceedings against her for using abusive language and releasing obscene material on social media. (REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE )

Dismissing the petition filed by Nandini Sachan of Jhansi district, Justice Shekhar Kumar Yadav observed, “It is beyond the shadow of doubt that social media is a global platform for exchange of thoughts, opinions and ideas. The internet and social media has become an important tool through which individuals can exercise their right to freedom of expression but the right to freedom of expression comes with its own set of special responsibilities and duties. It does not confer upon the citizens the right to speak without responsibility nor does it grant unfettered licence for every possible use of language”.

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The present FIR was lodged against the accused at Nawabad police station of Jhansi district on May 31, 2022, alleging that they had tampered with photos and used abusive language and, thereafter made it viral on social media.

After investigation, the police submitted a charge sheet against the applicant. The magistrate, after taking cognizance of the charge sheet, issued summons to the applicant.

Hence, the applicant filed the present petition requesting the court to quash the entire criminal proceedings pending against her.

The applicant took the plea that the FIR had been lodged only due to personal enmity and as a counterblast of the previous case instituted by the applicant.

The state government counsel opposed the plea, saying that the investigating officer (IO) found that some persons, including the applicant, were involved in the aforesaid illegal activities and, therefore, submitted a charge sheet against her after recording statements of witnesses.

These witnesses alleged in their statements that the applicant, as well as other accused persons, were involved in the offence in question.

Rejecting the plea of the applicant, the court in its order dated January 24 said that the offence under Section 67 of Information Technology (IT) Act, which provides for punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form, is attracted in the present case, hence no ground for quashing the proceedings of the aforesaid case is made out, which may call for any interference by the high court in exercise of its inherent power under Section 482 of the criminal procedure code, as the same does not suffer from any illegality or infirmity.

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