On 26 November, the Punjab and Haryana High Court bench headed by Justice Alka Sarin remarked that the “Freedom of speech does not entitle a person to make derogatory remarks/posts against any community or gender.”
The above observations were made during the hearing of a petition that sought for grant of regular bail to the Petitioner under Sections 153-A, 295-A and 505 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 and Section 3(1)(V) of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989.
Background of the case
On the basis of a complaint made by Savita Kajal and Kuldeep Bhukkal, an FIR was registered against the petitioner, Vijender Sarsawa. It was alleged that Savita Kajal had uploaded a post of Baba Saheb Bhimrao Ambedkar on her Facebook ID, after which, the petitioner Vijender Sarsawa had reportedly made insulting and objectionable comments on the said post to create disharmony in society. Further, the FIR alleged that the petitioner uses filthy language and makes objectionable comments against the females belonging to Scheduled Castes and against the Muslim women.
On the other hand, during the hearing, the counsel for the petitioner contended that the complainant is a chronic litigant and is in the habit of filing false and frivolous complaints with an ulterior motive to extort money from innocent persons. He further contended that the ingredients of Section 153 A, 295 A, and 505 of IPC are not made out and that he has been in custody since 24th September 2020.
The counsel submitted that even the perusal of messages, which the Petitioner had allegedly texted on Facebook “was in fact messages received by him and forwarded without any motive much less to hurt the feeling of the complainant or the other citizens of the country.”
Observations made by the Court
The Punjab and Haryana HC bench headed by Justice Alka Sarin stated in its order that “A bare perusal of the screenshots of the said posts prima facie reveals that the posts are not only derogatory in nature but are made against particular communities.”
Subsequently, the bench dismissed the petitioner’s bail application while citing that it did not find it fit to extend the benefit of regular bail to the Petitioner.