During the hearing of a criminal case against a Navi Mumbai resident Sunaina Holey, the Maharashtra government submitted that Holey has over 20,000 followers on Twitter and could be considered as a “social media influencer” or “professional tweeter”.
Earlier, the counsel Arvind Chandrachud submitted before the court that Holey is not a public figure and cannot influence the public.
Senior counsel Manoj Mohite appearing for the Maharashtra government opened the arguments stating, “Less than 0.2% of Twitter users have more than 20,000 followers and Sunaina Holey is one of them.”
A Navi Mumbai resident, Sunaina Holey is being tried in the Bombay High Court for spreading misinformation through her tweets. In one of her tweets, she had accused the coronavirus pandemic was caused by a particular political party.
Her tweet was then flagged by a city police officer who found it objectionable and thereafter lodged an FIR. Three FIRs have been registered against Sunaina Holey by Mumbai and Palghar police. She was booked allegedly for her offensive and communally inflammatory tweets about Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray and his son, Aditya Thackeray.
Sunaina Holey has moved the Bombay High Court seeking quashing of three FIRs filed against her.
Advocate Mohite also stated before the bench of Justice SS Shinde and MS Karnik that at that time, when the nationwide lockdown was just announced communal harmony was an issue and hence Ms. Holey was charged under section 153A of the IPC on the charge of disrupting communal harmony and under several other charges.
He also pointed out Holey’s tweets of May 2020 which led to a huge gathering at the Bandra police station. He further mentioned the Holey statement and said, “she pointed out that she is a social media influencer. In the police statement, she informed them that she was in liasoning. Considering the circumstances of the case, I submit that she may be a professional tweeter.”
Mohite also raised questions on Holey’s day to day tweets about the hearings of her case. He even mentioned that his previous court statement was also discussed on Twitter by Sunaina Holey.
To which, the counsel appearing for Ms. Holey clarified, “I saw the tweet my friend is referring to and I agree with him. I have asked my client to not tweet such things pertaining to the case if she wants me to continue as her counsel. She has deleted her “Tareekh pe Tareekh” tweet. As officers of the court, we have to ensure we uphold the dignity of the court and its officers. She will not tweet about this matter.”
The hearing will continue on Tuesday.