In the case of Dr Imrana Khan v. State of U.P., Criminal Misc. WP No. 8632 of 2020, the Allahabad High Court Division Bench comprising of Justices A Samit Gopal and Ramesh Sinha, made an observation that, “…the freedom of speech cannot be extended to such extent which may be prejudicial to the National interest.”
Senior Advocate N.I. Jafri, assisted by Khalid Mahmood appeared as counsels for the Petitioner. They sought to quash the FIR by the present petition, which had been registered under Section 67 of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008, Sections 153-A, 153- B and 124-A of Penal Code, 1860. They submitted that petitioner had shared posts against the activities of the Government on her Facebook page which was termed to be an Anti-National activity and also allegedly had made posts on Facebook against the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath from 2014 to 2017, but did not continue to share posts after 2017. Yet the F.I.R. had been lodged against her in the year 2020.
Further, the counsel adds that the petitioner had simply shared the Facebook post which was initially shared on someone else’s Facebook post, and this activity does not at all amount to spreading disharmony or feeling of enmity, hatred or ill will between different religions and is not prejudicial to National Integration and hence no offence is disclosed against the petitioner. He also submits that whatever the petitioner has stated in her posts is her right to freedom of speech.
The Bench held that the content of the posts appear to be of serious nature, one which may incite communal disharmony and hence the impugned FIR discloses cognizable offence against the petitioner. Likewise the petition was dismissed.