Observing that expressing dissent on law and order situation is a “hallmark of a constitutional liberal democracy” like India, the Allahabad high court has quashed an FIR against a person who had allegedly tweeted that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath “has transformed the state into a jungleraj in which no law and order prevails”.
Expressing dissent on the law and order situation in the state is a “hallmark of a constitutional liberal democracy like ours, constitutionally protected under Article 19 of the Constitution”, the Bench of Justice Pankaj Naqvi and Justice Vivek Agarwal observed while quashing the FIR.
The court was hearing a writ petition filed by Yashwant Singh who had been booked under Section 66-D (offence of cheating by personation by using computer resource) of the Information Technology Act and Section 500 (defamation) of the IPC. The FIR against Singh was lodged at Bhognipur Police Station in Kanpur Dehat district on August 2.
In the FIR, police had alleged that Singh had referred to various incidents of abduction, ransom call and murders in his tweet.
In an order passed on November 23 and uploaded recently on the High Court’s website, the Bench observed that no offence under the applied sections was made out against the accused and quashed consequential proceedings.
“We after analysing the above provisions, qua allegation made in the FIR do not find even remotely a commission of offence under Section 66-D, as said provision relates to cheating by personation,” the High Court said.
Singh’s lawyer, Dharmendra Singh, had told the court, “The right to comment on the affairs of the State is welithin his constitutional right envisaged under Article 19 of the Constitution of India. Mere dissent does not amount to criminality. The FIR was lodged malafidely only with a view to coerce the petitioner to stop expressing his dissent against the State government….”
The additional government advocate, arguing on behalf of the state government, had opposed the petition.
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