The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday quashed two FIRs lodged nearly five years ago against activist Teesta Setalvad after she tweeted a picture allegedly drawing parallels between a Hindu goddess and an ISIS terrorist.
Two FIRs were lodged in August 2014 against Setalvad, one at Ghatlodia police station in Ahmedabad by Vishwa Hindu Parishad activist Raju Patel, and another by one Kirit Mistry at C Division police station in Bhavnagar.
Setalvad’s tweet had included a photoshopped image, allegedly drawing a visual parallel between Hindu goddess Kali and ISIS terrorists in a photograph with slain American journalist James Foley. She subsequently tweeted an apology. “The moment I realised that the illustration had created a controversy and hurt many people, I deleted the tweet and tweeted an immediate apology for having inadvertently hurt their feelings.”
Advocate Yogesh Ravani who represented Setalvad, said, “The court quashed the FIRs on the grounds that there was no malafide or deliberate intention and she had not intended to hurt anyone.” He said it was a “balanced judgment, based on Article 19 (of the Constitution which guarantees free speech and expression) and provisions of the CrPC”.
Setalvad had filed two petitions seeking the quashing of the FIRs. The Bhavnagar FIR had initially been tried at the district court but the trial was subsequently stayed and taken up by the high court.
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