The Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, will continue the hearing on a plea filed by Congress leader Sachin Choudhary challenging the Allahabad High Court order, which had imposed a condition on him not to use social media till the pendency of trial in a case against him while granting him bail.
Choudhary was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Police in a case crime no 0198/2020 under Sections 188, 269, 270, 271, 124-A, 505, 153-A, 153-B IPC and under Information Technology Act, & 56 of Disaster Management Act.
The criminal case was filed against him for holding a press conference in breach of lockdown rules to criticize the Central and Uttar Pradesh governments.
The politician from Amroha had said on social media that Prime Minister Modi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had mishandled the coronavirus epidemic.
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On a previous hearing, CJI Bobde had said we don’t think it’s too onerous if a person’s participation on social media creates mischief, why can’t court say you don’t use the instrument by which you caused mischief?
Senior Advocate Salman Khurshid, the counsel for the petitioner, replied, There is no allegation relating to social media use against my client.
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The CJI said we would like to lay down the law on this. Further the Court said it will consider question of law on whether a trial court while granting bail can restrict a person from using social media. The Court had issued notice but refused to grant interim relief against the High Court order.
The High Court in its order dated 01.06.2020 had held,
“This modification application has been moved praying for deleting the condition no. 8 in the bail order dated 20.05.2020 granted to the applicant. When the bail application was heard the bail order granted on this condition only. Therefore, there is no justification for deleting condition no. 8. However, the condition no. 8 is modified to the extent that the restraint on use of social media shall continue on the applicant for a period of 18 months or till the conclusion of trial, whichever is earlier.”