September 26, 2021 11:03:27 pm
The Bombay High Court recently granted interim protection from arrest to a man booked by Mumbra police station earlier this year for allegedly posting disrespectful content on Facebook against Dr B R Ambedkar.
A single-judge bench of Justice Sandeep K Shinde was on September 23 hearing plea by one Abdul Rahim Abdul Gani who, according to the police, had sent a post on his Facebook account which allegedly disrespected Ambedkar, whom the complainant held in high esteem being a member of a Scheduled Caste.
The complainant lodged FIR against Gani for offences punishable under Sections 295A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code, Section 67 (publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) of the Information Technology Act and under provisions of Schedule Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1889.
Advocate Tahera Abdul Rashid Qureshi for the accused argued that he has been falsely implicated, being an RTI activist and a whistleblower. The lawyer added that an unknown person created a Facebook account in his name and sent a post on that account, therefore he disowned the said account and the post.
The court noted that the Investigating Officer (IO) has asked the Senior Inspector, Cyber Cell, Thane to verify the Internet Protocol (IP) address and other details and submit a report.
Advocate A D Khamkhedkar representing the state, on instructions from the officials, submitted that the report is likely to be received within a month.
“Therefore, unless it is ascertained whether it was a fake account of applicant or not, it would not be appropriate to deny him the protection,” he submitted.
The court asked the IO to take steps to block the Facebook account in question to prevent further circulation of the objectionable post.
The bench issued notice to the respondent and posted a further hearing to October 25. “Till then, in the event of arrest of the applicant, he shall be released on bail on executing a personal bond in the sum of Rs 20,000,” it noted.
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