The Bombay excessive court docket (HC) on Friday disposed of a public curiosity litigation (PIL) which had complained that the Mumbai Police had violated the appropriate to freedom of expression of residents, by invoking part 144 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) by prohibiting using social media platforms to disseminate data.
After the state knowledgeable the court docket by means of an affidavit that the prohibitory orders had come to an finish on June Eight and the order was justified because it had blocked 1,816 posts of objectionable content material, the court docket refused to entertain the petition and disposed of it.
A division bench of justice AA Sayed and justice NR Borkar, whereas listening to the PIL filed by 4 individuals – a journalist, musician, occupational therapist and knowledge know-how skilled – by means of advocates Aditi Saxena and Afreen Khan, was knowledgeable that Mumbai Police had violated the rights of residents assured underneath the Indian Constitution.
In a bid to curb misinformation and rumours pertaining to the unfold of Covid 19 within the metropolis, Mumbai Police had invoked part 144 of the IPC on April 10 and restricted dissemination of knowledge by means of numerous messaging and social media platforms. Aggrieved by the prohibition order and its extension on May 23, the petitioners had approached the court docket on June 1 searching for for it to be put aside. The court docket, in its earlier listening to on June 5, had directed the state to file an affidavit in response to the plea.
On Friday, when the PIL got here up for listening to, advocate basic Ashutosh Kumbhakoni and authorities pleader Poornima Kantharia submitted the state’s affidavit and mentioned that Mumbai Police has saved numerous social media platforms like underneath surveillance because the order was handed on April 10 to curb the unfold of misinformation and rumours about Covid 19. Kumbhakoni submitted that data unfold by means of these platforms was creating apprehension and panic amongst folks, and therefore, it was essential to impose the prohibitory orders.
Justifying the identical, Kumbhakoni learn out the affidavit filed by Pranay Ashok, deputy commissioner of police (operations), which mentioned that there was “widespread dissemination of fake news, incorrect information, misinformation and other such objectionable content” on social media platforms.
“Such type of content was found to have caused panic and confusion among the general public, inciting mistrust towards government functionaries and their actions taken to control the Covid-19 pandemic, and also to have created animosity towards various communities,” the affidavit additional said.
It added that within the interval from April 10 to June 8, police had blocked 1,816 posts of objectionable content material.
In gentle of those submissions and the truth that the prohibitory orders ended on June 8, Kumbhakoni submitted that because the grievances of the petitioners didn’t survive, the PIL must be dismissed.
After listening to the submissions and browsing the affidavit, the court docket mentioned that it was not inclined to entertain the PIL, and disposed of it.