On Monday, a Bombay High Court bench led by Justices SS Shinde and Milind Jadhav chastised the Maharashtra government for detaining Nikhil Bhamre, a 21-year-old student, after he tweeted against NCP leader Sharad Pawar. The court was perplexed as to how the tweet could have sparked first information reports (FIRs) against Bhamre.
“Nobody is named on page 48 (which included the primary tweet by Bhamre) and to keep someone in prison for a month. How is this a basis of everything? What gave rise to the FIR as per page 48?” The Court Stated
There are hundreds and thousands of tweets everyday. Will you take cognizance of each and every tweet? We do not want FIRs like these. …Unheard of… some student is kept in custody like this,” The Bench stated
“If you start taking actions like this, then you end up damaging the name of the person who has received second highest civilian award (Pawar). Even the towering personality (Pawar) will not like that such student being kept in jail. We do not want the towering personalities reputation should go down,” The Court Opinied
The court was hearing a writ petition filed by Bhamre seeking the quashing of the FIRs filed against him after he reportedly sent tweets aimed at the veteran politician leader from his account.
Several FIRs have been filed against Bhamre for offences under the Indian Penal Code’s Sections 153, 153A (promoting enmity between communities), 500, 501 (defamation), 504 (criminal intimidation), 505, 506 (statements contributing to public mischief) (IPC).
Booking the accused in the current case, according to Justice Shinde, could be more damaging to Pawar’s reputation, who was the target of the tweets.
Before adjourning the session, Justice Shinde asked the public prosecutor to follow the State Home Department’s orders and file a statement of no objection to Bhamre’s release.
“In our humble opinion grace of the state will be saved if you come and make this statement” The Court concluded.
The plea will be heard again on June 16.