Petition filed in SC against arrest of people who put up anti-Modi posters

New Delhi: A writ petition was filed before the Supreme Court on Monday seeking immediate directions for quashing FIRs registered against at least 25 persons for putting up posters and brochures criticizing the central government’s COVID-19 vaccination policy.

The petitioner-cum-lawyer, Pradeep Kumar Yadav, in his petition sought the quashing of FIRs/complaints and directions to the Commissioner of Police, DGP, not to register FIRs against the accused.

“Citizens have not committed any offence by questioning the Centre’s vaccination policy,” Yadav told ANI.

In his petition, Yadav 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 guaranteed under the Constitution of India.

He said the court in the Shreya Singhal against central government case, set aside Section 66-A of Information Technology (IT) Act, which defines an offence for sharing information in social media.

It had also held that information sharing on social media does not constitute a criminal offence under the IT Act, Yadav said.

Yadav said the Supreme Court recently also passed specific directions to respondent state authorities not to register any criminal case over the public seeking medical help in the social media.

The petition said contrary to the above decision of the court, authorities and police are registering FIR against 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 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 25 arrested by Delhi Police, in the middle of a raging pandemic, for allegedly pasting posters with comments critical of the Prime Minister.

The string of arrests from across the capital started late on May 12 after the Special Branch informed Delhi Police Commissioner SN Shrivastava about the posters, said the petition.