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Keywords: Prime Minister, Facebook, Bail, High Court.

The Gujarat High Court has recently turned down a bail request from a man who stands accused of sharing objectionable posts on Facebook, specifically targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his late mother, Heeraben Modi. The case, identified as Afsalbhai Kasambhai Lakhani vs State of Gujarat, led to an important ruling by Justice Nirzar Desai, highlighting the need to refrain from utilizing derogatory and abusive language against the Prime Minister, regardless of personal preferences.

In delivering the verdict, Justice Nirzar Desai emphasized that individuals have the freedom to hold their own opinions regarding the Prime Minister, irrespective of whether they are favorable or unfavorable. However, the court made it clear that expressing dissent or disagreement should not involve resorting to derogatory language or engaging in abusive behavior. Maintaining a respectful and civil discourse was underscored as essential, irrespective of one’s personal sentiments towards the Prime Minister.

The judgment was rendered in response to the accused individual’s application for bail. Justice Nirzar Desai’s ruling conveys a strong message regarding the boundaries of freedom of speech, particularly in relation to public figures. The court stressed that while democratic societies permit criticism and the expression of divergent views, it is crucial to maintain a level of decorum and avoid transgressing into the realm of offensive language.

The case has sparked discussions concerning the limits of freedom of expression, especially within the realm of social media platforms. Legal experts and observers have lauded the court’s decision, which seeks to strike a balance between upholding democratic principles and preserving the dignity of public figures.

It is important to note that this ruling pertains specifically to the aforementioned case and does not curtail legitimate criticism or differing opinions. The Gujarat High Court’s objective is to emphasize the significance of responsible and respectful expression when discussing political leaders, making it clear that personal opinions should not be conveyed through derogatory or abusive language.

As this ruling resonates, it serves as a reminder to individuals to exercise caution and exhibit civility in their online interactions, refraining from resorting to offensive language or engaging in personal attacks that undermine the essence of democratic dialogue.

The complaintant’s name is Devubhai Gadhavi, filed in December 2022.

According to his statement, he claimed to have encountered the Facebook Page named “Gujarat Trast Bhajpa Mast,” where certain objectionable posts targeting PM Modi and his deceased mother were published. Subsequently, a complaint was registered at the Sikka Police Station in Jamnagar, resulting in the accused being charged with offenses such as defamation, hate speech, inciting religious sentiments, obscenity, and other applicable legal provisions, including those outlined in the Information and Technology Act.

With these observations, the bench dismissed the bail plea.

Written By- Muskan Vyas, Legal Journalist under Legal Vidhiya


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