The Bombay high court
MUMBAI: The state advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni on Friday contended that an order issued by the Mumbai Police to initiate criminal action against social media app administrators for “incorrect” or “distorted’’ information through posts and messages is justifiable as a reasonable restriction on freedom of speech.
Bombay HC bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Amjad Sayed was a hearing twi public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Sheshanath Mishra and Geeta Seshu to challenge the legality of May 23, 2020 passed by the Dy.Commissioner of Police (Operations) under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Their counsel Aabad Ponda and Mihir Desai argued that the police order violates the fundamental rights to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution.
Kumbhakoni said the order is perfectly legal under the Constitutional provision of reasonable restrictions which can be imposed by law.
The HC said the “issue requires to be examined after considering the reply that the state may choose to file to support such order.” The order is valid till June 8.
The HC gave the state three weeks to file an affidavit in reply and a rejoinder may be filed within a week thereafter by the petitioners. The PIL will be listed next in due course.