Whether any public post on a social platform constitutes a cognizable offense

Whether any public post on a social platform constitutes a cognizable offense

Recently Guwahati high court granted bail to the accused, booked under UAPA. Maulana Karim Qasimi was accused for expressing his views on the Taliban on social media platforms. The post says, “Taliban in Afghanistan are not terrorists.  

The bench of Justice Suman Shyam expressed the vagueness as to whether the views posted on Facebook will fall under cognizable offense. 

The accused was booked for Section 120 B, 153 A(1)(a) and (c), 298, 501(1)(b)(c), 505(2) of Indian Penal Code and Section 39 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. The said offenses are charged for either supporting any terrorist organization or for uttering any words to hurt the sentiments of society/ affecting public peace. 

It was argued that since the bail has been granted to another accused charged under similar offenses, then why the accused is not granted bail for expressing a similar opinion.

The court observed: 

“From a perusal of the Case Diary, I find that nothing is incriminating against the applicant save and except the fact that there is a Facebook post emanating from his account. Even if it is accepted that the applicant is the author of the Facebook post, even then, in the absence of other incriminating materials, it is doubtful as to whether the contents thereof alone would constitute a cognizable offense. In view of the above, I am of the view that further custodial detention of the applicant would be uncalled for in this case.”

The Guwahati High Court last week granted bail to Maqbool Alam in a similar case. Alam was accused of praising and glorifying the Tehreek-e-Taliban, a terrorist organization.  

Tehreek-e-Taliban is a terrorist organization indulged in a war to wash off Afghanistan’s democracy. The organization is also responsible for targeting Indian Citizens through violent means.