Sameet Thakkar gets Bombay High Court’s protection from arrest

The division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice M S Karnik was hearing a petition filed by Thakkar, seeking directions to quash and set aside an FIR filed against him at V P Marg police station over his tweets against the Chief Minister and his son and minister Aaditya Thackeray.
Advocates Abhinav Chandrachud, on behalf the Petitioner, argued that it was the fundamental right of a citizen to criticize a public office.

The counsel said that obscenity meant only sexual obscenity or pornography under section 292 of the IPC and that mere abusive language did not amount to obscenity, citing the remark by Justice VR Krishna Iyer that trifling and venial offences should be overlooked by the courts.
The bench said after considering the submission from both parties that the integrity of the office is not respected by the persons holding public offices and it is preserved by the people, the Court said that the petitioner’s interests can not compromise. It is acknowledged that civil rights are not absolute. If criticism is legitimate, then the person who holds public office should have the opportunity to consider it. But it can’t be unreasonable and abusive to criticise.
The Court, however, ordered Sameet Thakkar to appear before the police to record his statement pursuant to Section 161 of the CrPC.
Furthermore, the court ordered the Additional Public Prosecutor not to arrest Thakkar because the notice, which does not contemplate arrest, was given under section 41-A of the CrPC.
The case is set for further hearing on October 8.

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