New Delhi: The Allahabad High Court has refused to quash an FIR lodged against a lady doctor, Dr Imrana Khan, saying that freedom of speech cannot be extended to such an extent where it may be prejudicial to national interest.
An FIR was registered against Dr Khan, a Unani medical officer, under Section 67 of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008, Section 153-A, 153-B and 124-A of the Indian Penal Code.
The allegation against the doctor was that she shared certain Facebook posts that were against the activities of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre, as well as the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath-led government in UP.
The petitioner submitted that she did share some posts on Facebook against the Prime Minister, described as anti-national activity, but that was from 2014 to 2017. She said she did not share posts after 2017. The FIR has been lodged in 2020.
She also submitted that she had simply shared the Facebook posts on somebody else’s post which does not at all amount to spreading disharmony or feeling of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religions and is not prejudicial to national Integration.
Senior Advocate N.I. Jafri, on behalf of the petitioner, contended that whatever she has stated in her posts is her right to freedom of speech.
After going through all the contentions made by the petitioner, the bench of Justices Ramesh Sinha and Samit Gopal refused to quash the FIR and observed:
“We are of the opinion that the material which has been posted by the petitioner appears to be a serious one which may incite communal disharmony, the freedom of speech cannot be extended to such extent which may be prejudicial to the national interest and the impugned FIR discloses cognizable offence against the petitioner. Hence no interference is called for by this court in its extraordinary power under Article 226 of the constitution of India for quashing of the FIR or for grant of any interim relief to the petitioner.”
“The petition lacks merit and is, accordingly, dismissed,” said the Court.
Read the order here;allahabad-hc
-India Legal Bureau