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Bombay High Court reserves verdict on plea against FIR over 'offensive' tweet


MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Thursday reserved its verdict on a plea filed by city resident Sunaina Holey seeking that the FIR against her for alleged offensive tweet be quashed.

Holey had approached the HC last year seeking that the FIR registered against her by the Mumbai police be quashed.

She was booked under several sections of the IPC, including 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), after she tweeted about a large group of migrants who had gathered at the Bandra terminus here in April during the first phase of the COVID-19-enforced nationwide lockdown.

On the previous hearing, a bench of Justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik had asked ifHoley's tweet had led to "some chain reaction".

Senior counsel Manoj Mohite, who appeared for the Maharashtra government, told the HC that Holey had over 20,000 followers on Twitter and her posts had a large reach.

He had said on the previous hearing that Holey could be considered a "professional tweeter."

Holey's counsel, Dr Abhinav Chandrachud, however, argued on Thursday that merely having a large follower count on the micro-blogging site did not make his client a professional tweeter.

Chandrachud said that Holey's tweet did not mention any particular religious community and that it had not resulted in any untoward incident.

"It has been nine months, but the police have not been able to point out any untoward incident," he said.

Advocate Mohite, however, said that Holey had tweeted something offensive even before the post in question, which related to spread of COVID-19.

"She had tweeted something derogatory previously, and then the police had written to Twitter to take it down. So it not that police is vindictive," Mohite said.

He, however, added that Holey's tweet in question was in no way responsible for the migrants' gathering at the spot.

The bench closed all arguments in the case and reserved its order.