‘Will you take cognizance of each and every tweet?’: Bombay HC questions Maharashtra govt
The Bombay High Court on Monday slammed the Maharashtra government over the arrest of a 21-year-old student, Nikhil Bhamre, for an “alleged” derogatory social media post on National Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar.
The court, after perusing the tweets posted by Nikhil Bhamre on the social media platform Twitter, noted that they do not name anyone.
A division bench led by Justice S S Shinde directed the public prosecutor to take orders from the state home department and inform the bench if they were willing to issue a statement of no objection to the release of the student.
The court questioned the government whether it takes cognizance of every offensive social media post. The HC also noted that the veteran leader, Sharad Pawar would himself not like that the student is kept in jail.
The court was hearing a petition filed by the student, Nikhil Bhamre, challenging the cases lodged against him over the posts and seeking immediate release.
Justice Shinde said, “Nobody is named…and you (government) keep someone in prison for a month. How is this a basis of everything?”
“There are 100s and 1000s of tweets posted every day. Will you take cognizance of each and every tweet? We do not want FIRs like these. Some student is kept in custody like this…” the court said.
Justice Shinde further said booking a person in such a case was possibly more damaging to the reputation of Mr. Pawar (than the posts themselves).
“If you start taking actions like this, then you end up damaging the name of the person (Pawar) who has received the second-highest civilian award (Padma Vibhushan). Even the towering personality (Pawar) will not like that such a student be kept in jail. We do not want the towering personality’s reputation to go down,” the judge noted.
The court, while posting the matter for further hearing on June 16, directed the prosecutor to take instructions from the Home Department and make a statement of no objection to releasing Nikhil Bhamre from custody.
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