The Allahabad High Court has refused to quash criminal proceedings initiated against a man accused of posting objectionable remarks on Facebook about Lord Shiva.

The Bench of Justice J.J. Munir said that “Offences of the kind that have a tendency to promote hatred between classes of people or communities, have to be put down with a heavy hand. These offences cannot be permitted to flourish in society by adopting a soft-pedalling approach at the cost of widespread damage to the community.”

Advocate Gauri Shankar Mishra appeared for the Applicant and AGA Shashi Shekhar Tiwari appeared for the State.

In this case, FIR was registered for offences punishable under Sections 153A and 295A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Section 66 of the Information Technology Act 2000 for hurting and insulting the religious sentiments of the Hindu Community.

The applicant had posted objectionable comments on his Facebook account regarding Lord Shiva. There were further comments fomenting communal hatred by the other co-accused, in the comments section of the Facebook post.

The Counsel for the applicant contended that the alleged comments posted on his Facebook were mere forwards by another person and were not created by the accused but was only shared by him.

The High Court observed that if the comment had the tendency to promote enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion posting/sharing it on one’s Facebook would certainly constitute offence.

“The words employed in the post clearly, are ones made with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of a particular section of the community or a class of citizens of the country. Even if the said comments have been endorsed by the applicant by posting them on his Facebook, it matters not whether he is the author or the exponent of the comments.” observed the Court.

Therefore, “In the opinion of this Court there is absolutely no good ground to quash the proceedings in exercise of powers under Section 482 CrPC.” said the Court.

Accordingly, the application was dismissed.

Cause Title- Asif v. State of U.P. and Another

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