The Allahabad High Court has dismissed the petition filed by one Nandini Sachan of Jhansi district, seeking quashing of an FIR that accused her of propagating obscene content on social media.
The present FIR was lodged against the applicant at the Nawabad police station in Jhansi district on May 31, 2022 alleging that she had tampered with photos, made it viral on social media and used abusive language.
The bench of 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 have 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.”
The magistrate, after taking cognizance of the charge sheet filed in the case by the police, had issued summons to the applicant. Later, the woman filed the present petition requesting the court to quash the entire criminal proceedings pending against her.
The accused said that she had been falsely implicated. She alleged that the FIR had been registered as a counterblast, as she rejected a man’s marriage proposal.
However, the state government counsel opposed the plea saying that during investigation, the investigating officer (IO) found that some persons, including the applicant, are involved in the above-mentioned illegal activities.
He submitted the charge sheet against her after recording statements of witnesses. These witnesses have clearly alleged that the applicant as well as other accused persons were involved in the offence.
Rejecting the pleas of the applicant, the court in its order, said that a cognizable offence under section 67 of Information Technology (IT) Act, which provides for punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form, is being made in the case.