The Supreme Court on Saturday refused to interfere with an order of the Allahabad High Court asking a Congress leader—arrested for allegedly violating lockdown rules—to stay away from using social media as a pre-condition for bail.
“We don’t think it’s too onerous. If a person’s participation on social media creates mischief why can’t the court say you don’t use the instrument by which you caused mischief… If a court can ask an accused to stay away from a gun, it can similarly direct to stay away from social media,” observed Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, who was heading a three-judge Bench.
The bench, also comprising Justices R Subhash Reddy and A S Bopanna, was hearing the plea by Uttar Pradesh Congress leader Sachin Choudhary against the condition imposed on him by the High Court.
Senior Advocate Salman Khurshid, who appeared for the petitioner, said there is no allegation relating to social media use against his client.
The bench did not seem convinced, but said it will lay down the law on the question and issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government.
Choudhary was arrested on April 11 by police in Amroha under various provisions of the IPC, Disaster Management Act and Information Technology Act for holding a press conference in violation of lockdown norms and for allegedly inciting the public on the Covid-19 pandemic.
He is also accused of targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Yogi Adityanath with indecent language.
The High Court initially imposed the condition that he could not use social media till the trial in the case was over.
On appeal, it modified the condition to the “extent that the restraint on use of social media shall continue…for a period of 18 months or till the conclusion of trial, whichever is earlier”.
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