The Supreme Court has sought details of FIRs filed against people who had put up posters and pamphlets asking the Prime Minister why the Covid vaccines were exported abroad instead of utilizing them ion India.
The bench of Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice M.R. Shah was hearing the PIL filed by Advocate Pradeep Kumar Yadav, who was appearing in person seeking the indulgence of the apex court to intervene in the illegal arrest of labour contractors for their speech and expression by way of pamphlets affixed on the wall which spread over social media.
Justice Chandrachud observed that the nature of the relief sought in the PIL reflects general direction for quashing FIR directing the Commissioner of Police, DGP, not to register any case/ FIR in relation to Covid-19 posters /Advertisement/ brochures that came out in the context of vaccination and case as the citizens have questioned about the status of vaccination policy.
Justice Chandrachud further observed that this case is extremely broad and no specific details of FIRs are mentioned, and ergo the court cannot give a general direction. He addressed the petitioner-advocate to at least provide some details or names in the FIR. Upon the request of the petitioner, the bench directed him to produce the number/detail of FIR registered in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi within a week.
The petitioner stated that 24 arrests were made in Delhi over posters against the Prime Minister over vaccination policy. At least 25 FIRs have been registered in connection with posters that surfaced across the capital questioning Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the vaccination policy.
It is also stated that in contravention of the Apex Court’s order in Shreya Singhal vs. Union of India, AIR 2015 SC 1523 wherein the court set aside Section 66-A of the IT Act, and held that information sharing in social media does not constitute any criminal offence under the IT Act. , further, in the case of Suo Motu WP (C) 3 of 2021 titled DISTRIBUTION OF ESSENTIAL SUPPLIES AND SERVICES DURING PANDEMIC, the apex court has passed a specific direction to the state authorities not to register any criminal case over the public seeking medical help in the social media.
According to the petition, some of the posters stated, “Modi ji humare bachon ka vaccine videsh kyon bhej diya?” The petition further states that police said three FIRs were also registered at Bhajanpura, Khajuri Khas and Dayalpur police stations. “In all cases, a 19-year-old youth, Sanjay Kumar, was arrested. He was asked to paste posters by someone who gave him Rs 400. Police are trying to find out who this was,” said an officer.
The FIRs were registered under Sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code and other relevant sections including Section 3 of the Prevention of Defacement of Property Act across various districts of the Delhi Police, the officials said. The case is now listed for July 30.FIR-PIL