The Bombay High Court on Thursday observed that ‘Tareekh pe Tareekh’ comment is a fact and coercive action would not be initiated for the criticism of judiciary on frequent adjournment of cases. The observation was about a tweet posted by social media user Sunaina Holey regarding how her case of seeking quashing of FIRs has been adjourned regularly.
A bench of Justices SS Shinde and MS Karnaik took the tweet in a lighter vein, laughing at the choice of her words and adding that they were listening to her case. The court noted that it has no problem with such tweets and even mentioned that what Holey tweeted was a fact and for a litigant, his/her case is the most important.
Justice Shinde even remarked that there is a television programme by that name.
The court was listening to the matter of quashing of FIRs filed against Ms Holey for posting allegedly defamatory tweets against the government officials including Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray when the Maharashtra state advocate highlighted the latest tweet on ‘adjournment’ by Ms Holey.
Ms Holey’s lawyer, counsel Dr Abhinav Chandrachud, tried to mitigate the matter by claiming that his client was simply referring to an iconic dialogue from a famous Bollywood movie. Sunny Deol starrer ‘Damini’ is known for the famous ‘Tareekh pe Tareekh’ monologue, wherein the actor playing the character of a lawyer laments about the frequent adjournments that he faces in the court.
Bombay HC asks Ms Holey to refrain from commenting on pending matters
Though the court did not take an objection to Ms Holey’s tweet, they instructed her counsel to ask her to refrain from tweeting about pending petition till the matter is disposed of.
Justice Shinde also provided an explanation on the interminable delays and frequent adjournments in court cases. He stated that a large number of cases are filed and heard on a daily basis in the courts and no thought is put behind with respect to the infrastructure that is needed to listen to the matters.
Earlier, this same Bench of Justices Shinde and Karnik had observed on December 15 that judiciary must not waste precious time on contempt hearings which can otherwise be utilised for hearing critical questions of law. Justice Shinde commented that Contempt of court should be used only as a last resort and not be used against common people criticising the courts or judges.
Maha Vikas Aghadi’s intolerance towards dissidents
Maharashtra Police has shown an unhealthy and eager alacrity to prosecute those who have dared to voice opinions that are at variance with the views held by the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in the state. It has hounded social media user Sameet Thakkar for criticising the Maharashtra government, including chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and his son Aaditya Thackeray. Similarly, the Maharashtra Police has also initiated action against activist Sunaina Holey for raising dissenting opinions on her social media accounts.
In fact, not just laypersons, but even celebrities have not been spared from the state’s wrath. Actor Kangana Ranaut’s office was hastily demolished by the BMC after she likened Mumbai to Pakistan occupied Kashmir as its streets were defiled with Azaadi graffiti. Similarly, Republic TV Editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami and his channel are continuously hounded, for asking uncomfortable and piercing questions of the Maharashtra state government.
Sunaina Holey arrested by police for voicing dissenting views
Maharashtra Police had arrested one Twitter user Sunaina Holey, who goes by the ID @SunainaHoley, on Thursday after a complaint was filed against her by Rohan Chavhan, a leader of the Shiv Sena’s youth wing Yuva Sena. In his complaint, Chavhan wrote that Sunaina had posted objectionable content on the microblogging website against CM Uddhav Thackeray and Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray.
The complaint was filed at Tulinj Police Station, Nalasopara. The user also runs a backup account @NidarNaari, and both these accounts were mentioned in the complaint. Chavhan mentioned that Sunaina used extremely offensive against the Shiv Sena chief and his son to defame their image on social media. He urged police to take action against her under section 294 (using obscene language in public place), 499 (defamation), 506 (criminal intimidation) and other relevant sections of the IPC and Section 66A of the Information Act 2000 within 48 hours.
Sunaina Holey was granted bail after the BJYM intervened in the matter. Advocate Vivekananda Gupta arranged for the bail of Sunaina Holey. BJP spokesperson Hitesh Jain also helped in the matter. People on social media were outraged by the highhandedness shown by the Shiv Sena. The party was criticised heavily for attempting to curtail an individual’s right to freedom of speech and expression. After soon after she received bail, Tulinj Police arrested her based on a different FIR. It is to this end that Ms Holey had filed a petition seeking quashing of FIRs filed against her.