The Allahabad High Court has said that “Using cyberspace to vent out anger by travestying prime minister and key figures holding the highest office in the country is abhorrent and it violates the right to reputation of others”.
Dismissing a petition filed by one Niyaz Ahmad Khan of Sant Kabir Nagar, Justice Sanjay Kumar Singh refused to quash criminal proceedings, including the charge sheet, cognisance and summoning order passed by additional chief judicial magistrate, Sant Kabir Nagar against the petitioner, who allegedly shared morphed photos of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Facebook.
The petitioner was booked under section 67 of Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008 and section 500 (defamation) of IPC for allegedly sharing a morphed photo showing the Prime Minister shaking hands with dreaded and wanted terrorist Hafiz Saeed in April 2018 on Facebook.
Similarly, another morphed photograph was shared by Khan in April 2018 showing Prime Minister Modi and Amit Shah feeding biscuits to dogs.
Rejecting the petition, the court said that it did not find it to be a case falling in the categories as recognised by the apex court for quashing the criminal proceeding of the trial court at the pre-trial stage.
“These kinds of acts, posting and sharing unhealthy materials with unparliamentary language and remarks on social media without any solid basis cause a deleterious effect on the society at large, therefore, in order to protect the reputation and character of individuals, it should be completely stopped. Considering the gravity and nature of offence as well as misuse of social media platforms, this court cannot shut its eyes. The government is also not expected to act as a silent spectator”, the court added.
Lastly, the court also directed the registrar general of the high court to communicate the facsimile of this order to the secretary, ministry of information and technology, government of India, New Delhi, chief secretary, state of Uttar Pradesh and the concerned court below within a week.