Freedom of speech and expression is not an absolute right: Bombay High Court

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Building of Bombay High Court
Building of Bombay High Court

Mumbai : The Bombay High Court on Saturday ruled that freedom of speech and expression mentioned in Article 19 of the constitution is not an absolute right.

The court made the observation while refusing to grant interim protection from arrest to a woman charged by the Mumbai and Palghar police for allegedly making offensive remarks on Twitter against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and his son Aditya Thackeray.

A bench of Justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik, however, accepted the state government's oral assurance that the woman, Sunaina Holey, will not be arrested in the case at least for the next two weeks.

The bench also allowed Ms Holey to approach the court at any time during this period in case the police decide to take any coercive action against her, or if any of her rights were breached.

Ms Holey has approached the Bombay High Court through her counsel Abhinav Chandrachud, seeking that all the charges against her be dropped.

She has three FIRs filed against her, one in BKC cyber-crime police station, another at Azad Maidan police station, and the third one at Tulinj police station in Palghar.

The FIRs were registered following complaints made by several persons, including by one Rohan Chavhan, a leader of the Shiv Sena's youth wing Yuva Sena.

As per the complaints, Sunaina Holey, 38, made offensive and defamatory comments against the Chief Minister and his son on Twitter.