The Allahabad High Court Lucknow Bench dismissed a plea moved by a journalist (scribe) to quash the criminal proceedings initiated against him over his social media post and observed that the power of High Court under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (CrPC) was very wide but the same should be exercised very cautiously to do real and substantial justice for which the court alone existed.

The Bench of Justice Shamim Ahmed observed that “The High Court would not embark upon an inquiry as it is the function of the Trial Judge/Court. The interference at the threshold of quashing of the charge sheet, proceeding of the case and summoning order in the case in hand cannot be said to be exceptional as it discloses prima facie commission of an cognizable offence. In the result, the prayer for quashing is refused.”

Advocate Prince Lenin appeared for the applicant and Additional Advocate General Vinod Kumar Sahi appeared for the respondent.

In this case, an application was moved to quash the chargesheet and criminal proceedings instituted against the applicant in pursuance of the FIR registered against him for offences under Sections s 419, 420, 465, 469, 471, 153-A, 153-B, 505 (1) (b), 505 (2) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 66 of the Information Technology Act (Act).

It was alleged that the applicant had made a false post on his Twitter handle wherein it was stated that BJP MLA Dev Mani Dwivedi was demanding from the Additional Chief Secretary, Home, the information of criminal cases registered against various political persons. Along with the tweet, one image of MLA’s letter pad was also attached, which was found to be forged.

It was also alleged that the Blank Letter pad of the MLA was obtained to gain undue advantage and with the intention to disturb the peace and harmony of the State.

On perusing the record, the Court noted that it could not be stated that no offence had been made out against the applicant as the applicant had shared incorrect facts on twitter handles and that there was a chance of violation of public peace and tranquillity in the Society. Moreover, the intention of the applicant was just to defame the image of the present Government in the State and to create communal terror which was direct attack to disturb the peace and harmony of the State.

The Court observed that every person had the freedom of speech and the right to express his thoughts and ideas but, no one could be given the licence to disturb the peace and tranquillity in the society.

Further, the Court said that for quashing criminal proceedings “The test to be applied by the court is to whether uncontroverted allegation as made prima facie establishes the offence and the chances of ultimate conviction is bleak and no useful purpose is likely to be served by allowing criminal proceedings to be continue.”

The Court relied upon the decision of the Apex Court in the case of S.W. Palankattkar & others Vs. State of Bihar, 2002 (44) ACC 168 wherein it was held that “quashing of the criminal proceedings is an exception than a rule. The inherent powers of the High Court under Section 482 Cr.P.C itself envisages three circumstances under which the inherent jurisdiction may be exercised:-(i) to give effect an order under the Code, (ii) to prevent abuse of the process of the court ; (iii) to otherwise secure the ends of justice.”

Therefore, the Court said that prima facie commission of an cognizable offence was disclosed.

Accordingly, the application was dismissed.

Cause Title- - Manish Kumar Pandey v. State Of U.P. Thru. Prin. Secy. Home Lko. And 2 Others

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