SC refuses to entertain PIL for quashing of FIRs lodged for crticizing COVID-19 vaccination policy

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Representative Image
Representative Image

New Delhi [India], July 30 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a Public interest Litigation (PIL) seeking the immediate direction of quashing the FIRs lodged against 24 persons for criticizing the Central government's COVID-19 vaccination policy through advertisements, posters and brochures and ordered to treat it as 'dismissed as withdrawn'.

The PIL was filed by lawyer Pradeep Kumar Yadav for appropriate orders in quashing the FIRs against all 24 persons who had criticised the Centre for COVID 19 vaccination policy.

A two-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Dr Dhananjaya Y Chandrahud and also comprising Justice M R Shah, said, "We are not entertaining the petition and added that the petition should be treated as 'dismissed as withdrawn'".

Justice Dr Chandrachud asked the petitioner-cum-lawyer, Yadav, not to file these kinds of PILs and asked him to present some particular case where an FIR is registered and the person concerned needs relief.

The judge asked Yadav to present an individual live case and then the bench will deal with and go ahead with the case.

He further questioned Yadav, "How can we start at your behest in FIRs (First Information Report) filed against other persons?"

"In the criminal jurisprudence, we can't quash an FIR at the behest of a third party. They must come. We can contemplate if there's an individual member of a family," Justice Chandrachud said and refused to entertain Yadav's petition.

Yadav, the Petitioner-in-person (PIP) in his plea filed before the top court has sought to quash these FIRs/complaints directing the Commissioner of Police, DGP, not to register FIR against these persons for their posting in relation to COVID-19 advertisements/brochures, banners and posters for criticising the Central government's COVID-19 vaccination policy.

"If the citizen questions the status of the Centre's vacations policy, they are not committing any offence," said Yadav while talking to ANI.

The petitioner in person, Yadav, in his petition filed before the apex court, said that the Court, in a number of cases, has held that freedom of speech and expression with regard to the public cause is a fundamental right of every citizen, and is guaranteed under the Constitution of India.

Further, this court, in Shreya Singhal against the Central government case, set aside the Section 66 A of Information Technology (IT) Act, which constituted an offence for sharing information on social media, and had held that sharing information on social media does not constitute any criminal offence under the IT Act, Yadav in his petition said.

Recently, the Supreme Court in the Suo Motu Cognisance case also passed a specific direction to the respondent state authorities not to register any criminal case over the public seeking medical help on social media, Yadav said in his petition.

He further, in his petition filed before the top court, said that in contrary to the above decision of this court, the authorities and police are registering FIRs against the innocent persons over their hate speech against the Prime Minister with regard to his official functions over the second wave of COVID-19 crises and Government vaccine policies.

Yadav, in his petition filed before the Supreme Court, said that a 19-year-old school dropout, a 30-year-old e-rickshaw driver, a 61-year-old maker of wooden frames, are among the 24 arrested by Delhi Police, in the middle of a raging pandemic, for allegedly pasting posters with comments critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding his Covid vaccination policy.

The string of arrests from across the capital started late on May 12 after the Special Branch informed Delhi Police Commissioner (former) S N Shrivastava about the posters stating that "Modi ji hamare bachon ki vaccine videsh kyon bhej diya" (Why did you send our children's vaccines abroad?), the petition filed by Yadav stated. (ANI)

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