Allahabad HC refuses to quash sedition FIR against woman over Facebook posts critical of PM Modi, UP CM Yogi Adityanath
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Allahabad HC refuses to quash sedition FIR against woman over Facebook posts critical of PM Modi, UP CM Yogi Adityanath

Ruling that the posts appeared to be capable of inciting communal disharmony, the Court stated, "freedom of speech cannot be extended to such extent which may be prejudicial to the National interest".

Lydia Suzanne Thomas

The Allahabad High Court on Thursday refused to quash an FIR against a woman over certain Facebook posts she had shared that were critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath (Dr Imrana Khan v. State of UP).

Dismissing a plea moved by the woman to quash various criminal charges including sedition over the Facebook posts stated to have been made between 2014-2017, a Bench of Justices Ramesh Sinha and Samit Gopal said,

"... we are of the opinion that the material which has been posted by the petitioner appears to be a serious one which may incite communal disharmony... the freedom of speech cannot be extended to such extent which may be prejudicial to the National interest and the impugned FIR discloses cognizable offence against the petitioner, hence, no interference is called for by this Court."
Allahabad High Court

The woman, a Unani medical practitioner, has been charged with sedition and spreading hatred between communities under Sections 124, 153-A, and 153-B of the Indian Penal Code. She has also been booked under Section 67 (electronic transmission of obscene material) of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008.

Her Counsel argued that the petitioner was falsely implicated with a mala fide intent. He further submitted that she shared the posts between 2014 and 2017 and that she has not shared such posts since.

Urging that the content of the posts did not spread disharmony, enmity, hatred or ill will between different religions and that they were not prejudicial to national Integration, he contended that no offence was disclosed against the petitioner.

In his submissions, the advocate asserted that the woman's posts were an exercise of free speech.

He also questioned why the FIR was lodged in 2020, almost three years after the last post was shared.

The Court rejected the submissions, stating simply that the charges disclosed the commission of offences prejudicial to the national interest.

Citing this, the petition was quashed.

Senior Advocate NI Jafri, assisted by Advocate Khalid Mahmood, appeared for the petitioner, while AGA Meena appeared for the Uttar Pradesh Government

Read the Order here:

Dr. Imrana Khan v. State of UP and 2 Ors. - September 3.pdf
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