Citizens can’t be hauled from one part of the country to another, let India remain free: SC
New Delhi, Oct 29: The Supreme Court has slammed the police for harassing people over social media posts.
We cannot have citizens hauled from one corner of the country to another for a social media post criticising the government the Supreme Court said. The warning was prompted by the Bengal police issuing summons to a Delhi resident who had criticised the state government for non-implementation of lockdown norms.
A Bench comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee said, 'Do not cross the line. Let India remain a free country. We, as the Supreme Court are here to protect free speech. The reason the Supreme Court was created by the Constitution was to ensure that ordinary citizens are not harassed by the state.'
Roshini Biswas had challenged the issuance of summons through her counsel, Mahesh Jethmalani the issuance of summons to her by the police and the Calcutta High Court asking her to appeal before the police for questioning.
The summons was issued after she had questioned the large gatherings at the Raja Bazar area in Kolkata, which were in violation of the lockdown norms. When the counsel for West Bengal said that she would be questioned and not arrested, the Bench said, ' this its browbeating a citizen for exercising right to free speech. One cannot be prosecuted for saying the pandemic is not dealt with properly.'
"It is like saying how dare a citizen write something against the government. Summoning her from Delhi to Kolkata is sheer harassment. Tomorrow the police from Kolkata, Mumbai, Manipur, and Chennai will summon people from all parts of India to send a chilling message. You want freedom of speech, we will teach you a lesson.'
The Bench however agreed to the middle path suggested by the counsel for the state government. It allowed the investigating officer from Kolkata to travel to Delhi to question her. The court also directed the lady to cooperate with the probe.