Ashwath v. State
In the High Court of Karnataka
Criminal Petition 200644/2017
Before Justice B A Patil
Decided on June 12, 2017
Relevancy of the case: Quashing of criminal proceedings in a case involving offensive comments on a Facebook post.
Statutes and Provisions Involved
- The Information Technology Act, 2000 (Section 43, 66)
- The Indian Penal Code, 1860 (Section 295A, 149)
- The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Section 196, 482)
Relevant Facts of the Case
- This is a petition under Section 482 CrPC by the petitioners to quash the criminal proceedings.
- Mois Karbari and Firdosh Ansari along with 500 Muslims filed a police complaint at Aland after seeing a post on Facebook (and comments on it) that hurt their religious sentiments and caused social unrest in the locality. They named nine persons, Ashwath Kalekar being one of them.
- The police registered a case and filed a charge sheet after investigation. The Principal Civil Judge and JMFC Court at Aland took cognizance of it and issued the summons.
Prominent Arguments by the Advocates
- The petitioner’s counsel submitted that their contention is twofold: firstly, that the police had not obtained the sanction of the Central or State Government required under Section 196 of the CrPC for prosecuting the accused persons under Section 295A IPC. Secondly, that although a charge is registered under Section 66 of the IT Act 2000 which penalizes activities under Section 43 of the IT Act, the required ingredients to constitute a charge under the said section are not present, nor is any material available to support it.
- The respondent’s counsel submitted that there is material to show that the accused persons have committed the said offences. There is no illegality in the proceedings. Hence, this petition deserves to be quashed.
Opinion of the Bench
- There is no material or evidence to show that any action under Section 43 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 was committed. Hence, a charge under Section 66 is not made out. In these circumstances, the criminal proceeding deserves to be quashed.
- Petition allowed.
- Proceedings quashed.
This case summary has been prepared by Shrawani Mohani, an undergraduate student at ILS Law College, Pune, during her internship with The Cyber Blog India in January/February 2021.