Freedom Of Expression Does Not Confer Upon Citizens The Right To Speak Without Responsibility: Observes Allahabad HC
The Allahabad High Court has observed that the right to freedom of expression 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 bench of Justice Shekhar Kumar Yadav observed that 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 set of special responsibilities and duties.
“…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.”, the Court noted.
In this case an FIR was lodged by the informant against the applicant and unknown persons alleging that 1 to 2 months ago, some unknown persons with different mobile numbers and I.Ds., obtained photo of the informant from social media.
It was alleged that the accused persons tempered with the photo and while using abusive words made it viral on the internet.
The applicant-accused had approached the High Court seeking quashing of criminal case.
Advocate Uday Narain Singh appeared for the applicant whereas A.G.A. Om Prakash appeared for the State.
The Court noted that as per statement of witnesses and also independent witness, there is clear allegation against the applicant and that they have fully supported prosecution case.
The Court further noted “Upon perusal of F.I.R. and the allegations made therein as well as material against the applicant, as per prosecution case, the cognizable offence against the applicant is made out.”
The Court held that the magistrate has rightly summoned the applicant to face the trial.
“Having considered the submissions made on behalf of the parties and perused the order impugned as well as material brought on record and also considering the above mentioned provisions of section 67 Information Technology Act, it is clearly established that the offence under Section 67 I.T. Act is attracted in the present case, therefore, I am of the view that no ground for quashing the proceedings of aforesaid case is made out…”, the Court held while dismissing the application.
Cause Title- Nandini Sachan v. State of U.P. and Another