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Bombay HC Seeks to Know Action Taken by Other Democracies Over Offensive Tweets

File photo of Bombay High Court

File photo of Bombay High Court

The court said that the advocates from both sides must throw some light on the stand taken by other democracies, as the same might be useful for academic purposes too in the future.

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday sought to know what democracies across the world did about offensive tweets or posts on social media. A bench of Justices S S Shinde and M S Karnik was hearing the final arguments on a plea filed by Mumbai resident Sunaina Holey, who has been booked by the Azad Maidan police for allegedly posting offensive tweets against Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and his son Aditya.

Holey, through her counsel Abhinav Chandrachud, has sought that the FIR against her be quashed. During the day's hearing, advocate Chandrachud argued that the facts in the FIR against Holey did not reveal any offence, and said that she had merely posted a video and was not the author or creator of the same.

Advocate Chandrachud further argued that Holey had not referred to any community, caste or religion in her post and therefore, the post did not constitute any offence. The Maharashtra government's counsel senior advocate Manoj Mohite, however, told the court that an officer of the Mumbai police's social media department found "something fishy" in Holey's tweets and hence an FIR was registered.

At this, the court asked what other democracies in the world did in similar cases. The court said that the advocates from both sides must throw some light on the stand taken by other democracies, as the same might be useful for academic purposes too in the future.

"In the entire world, how many democratic countries are there like India? In those countries, what is the stand taken on such tweets, WhatsApp messages or any criticism?" the bench asked. "Give details of it if it is possible, for academic interest," it stated.

The arguments will continue on December 14.