The Bombay High Court while hearing a criminal writ plea on Monday against actor Kangana Ranaut for her allegedly offensive tweets, observed that the actor had the fundamental right to express her views through tweets albeit reasonable restrictions.
However, the court asked the petitioner as to how the reasonable restrictions could be put on her freedom of speech as per Article 19 (2) of the Constitution based on her allegedly offensive tweets. The court also asked the petitioner that on which grounds could the court exercise its powers in the case.
A division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice M S Karnik was hearing criminal writ plea filed by Mumbai-based lawyer Advocate Ali Kaashif Khan Deshmukh against Ranaut seeking directions to permanently suspend or deactivate her Twitter account in order to stop “spreading of continuous hatred and disharmony through extremist or derogatory tweets or remarks and attempting to divide the people and promote commission of crime in the country”.
Deshmukh, who had earlier filed two criminal complaints before a magistrate against the actor, had also named Ranaut’s sister Rangoli Chandel as an accused.
On Monday, the state government reiterated its stand and opposed the plea stating that the petition was vague, non-maintainable and did not raise grievance about any personal injury.
After hearing the submissions, the bench asked the petitioner, “If you say that your fundamental right, Article 21 (right to personal liberty) is violated… Any individual can have such an account to express her views through tweets. You will have to show that reasonable restrictions (on freedom of speech) as per Article 19 (2) of the Constitution are violated by such tweets. Tell us how can you do that? Fundamental rights are not absolute.”
The court posted the matter to January 7.
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