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Bombay HC refuses to quash FIR against man for posting objectionable message on WhatsApp

The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court has refused to quash a case registered against a 58-year-old man for allegedly posting an offensive message on a WhatsApp group noting that "prima facie the post was objectionable".

Bombay HC refuses to quash FIR against man for posting objectionable message on WhatsApp
Bombay High Court (File Photo)


The court also took note of the prosecution's argument that the accused had deleted the post from the group and his mobile phone after the case was registered, intending to destroy evidence. 

A division bench of Justices V M Deshpande and Amit Borkar in its order passed on September 6, a copy of which was made available on Wednesday, dismissed the application filed by the accused Jafar Ali Sayyad, seeking to quash the FIR registered against him in October 2019 by the Kanhan police in Nagpur. 

Sayyad was booked under section 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings) and 153(A) (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion). 

The prosecution's case is that Sayyad was a member of a WhatsApp group of the local community and colony members, which was created to organize the Durga Puja festival. 

The accused allegedly posted an abusive and disrespectful message about Goddess Durga in the group, it was stated. 

While opposing Sayyad's plea, the prosecution told the court that the accused had deleted the alleged offensive message from the WhatsApp group and also from his mobile phone with an intent to destroy evidence. 

The court after perusing the FIR and the plea said, "On scrutiny of the FIR, we are of the prima facie opinion that the message posted by the applicant (Sayyad) is objectionable." "Whether there was the malicious intent on the part of the applicant is a matter to be considered by the investigating agency. We believe that at this stage, the right of the investigating agency to investigate the offence cannot be throttled," the bench said. 

The court at this stage cannot consider or conclude if the contents of the alleged offensive message were malicious or intended to outrage the religious sentiments of a particular community, and it would be in the best interest of justice to let the police determine the same, it further said.

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