Abusive comments on FB page: Cops say will go ahead with probe

Three days after having booked Henna Bakshi - a bravery award winner — for posting abusive comments on the Chandigarh Traffic Police’s Facebook page,the UT Police on Monday appeared to be in no mood for leniency,with senior officials indicating that they would proceed with investigations into the case as per established procedure.

Written by Express News Service | Chandigarh | Published: September 18, 2012 1:25 am

Three days after having booked Henna Bakshi – a bravery award winner — for posting abusive comments on the Chandigarh Traffic Police’s Facebook page,the UT Police on Monday appeared to be in no mood for leniency,with senior officials indicating that they would proceed with investigations into the case as per established procedure. This,despite the fact that the registration of a case against Henna has sparked off a debate over whether the police action is too harsh.

“Investigations will take time as Facebook servers are abroad. We are investigating the case as per law,” said Senior Superintendent of Police Naunihal Singh.

On their part,Henna’s parents (her father is an Army officer) met the SSP on Monday.

After Henna posted some allegedly abusive remarks on the UT Police’s FB page,a formal complaint was filed by an ASI of the traffic police. Following this,the UT Police had sought legal opinion from Assistant District Attorney Atul Sethi on the matter. Sethi was of the opinion that the messages posted on the website were “grossly offensive and could deprave or corrupt persons who would visit the site. It accounts for an offence under sections 66 and 67-A of the IT Act. Hence,it is required to register an FIR for investigation.”

On September 14,22-year-old Henna was booked by the UT Police along with one Kamalpreet for posting abusive comments on the Chandigarh Traffic Police Facebook Page despite being issued three warnings. She had been posting messages on the page following alleged police inaction in the case relating to her car’s theft. A case of sending offensive messages through communication service that are grossly offensive or have menacing character and publishing offensive information in the electronic form has been registered against the two accused.

Senior lawyers in the city maintain that the police could have dealt with the situation in a different manner and could have settled for a closure. “What Henna said on the Facebook page using expletives is absolutely indefensible but keeping in mind her age and the entire context in which she reacted,she did not realise the implications of her actions. Hence,I would rather that the UT Police did not prosecute her,” Anupam Gupta,a senior advocate in the High Court,told Chandigarh Newsline.

Gupta added,“Henna owes the police authorities a public apology and the matter should be settled there.”

R K Handa,public prosecutor for the UT,said it was very important for the police to ascertain if there was any criminal intent in Henna’s actions. “Use of unguarded language is very common among youngsters today. Hence,it is very important for the officials to verify if her comments were just an expression of her anguish in which case the police should settle for a closure.”

Handa added that even despite three warnings that were issued to the 22-year-old by the Traffic Police on its webpage,when Henna continued to post offensive comments,she should have been called in for counselling by the police.

A consultant psychiatrist with Fortis,Mohali,Dr Simmi Waraich said youngsters had become a lot more intolerant and impulsive and most of the times were unaware of the consequences of their actions.

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