The state government, while responding to the plea filed by Navi Mumbai resident Sunaina Holey, said that the petitioner was a ‘social media influencer’ and was involved in ‘spreading misinformation’ in ‘volatile situation’ and therefore her posts cannot be disregarded and the FIR against her was justified.
Holey was booked by the Mumbai and Palghar police for allegedly making offensive remarks on social media against the Maharashtra government, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and his son Aaditya.
A division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice M S Karnik was hearing Holey’s plea which sought quashing of the FIR against her in connection with her comments on gathering of people outside the Bandra station during the lockdown.
Senior advocate Manoj Mohite refuted Holey’s claims that she had not promoted enmity between two communities, and said that the circumstances under which offences were committed were required to be considered.
“Social media is also used for spreading rumours, misinformation. There was utter confusion and chaos not only in the world but our country too. Everything was shut down. People were without food, shelter… Tweet was made in this background. Over 1,000 migrants belonging to all kinds of communities had gathered in the hope of reaching their destination. Situation was volatile,” Mohite submitted.
He further said that the police were on toes and they were monitoring social media at that time. He said that a special lab set up by Mumbai Police came across the post, found it objectionable and lodged FIR within 24 hours since the tweet was posted.
Mohite, while justifying the FIR, submitted that while the police had to step in to disperse the crowd gathered outside Bandra station, Holey singled out the mosque which incidentally happened to be outside the station. There were a lot of responses to her tweets which were inflammatory but were taken down ostensibly after Twitter asked her to do so, the government added.