On July 20, Firozabad police have arrested a professor identified as Shaharyar Ali after he surrendered before Additional Sessions Judge Anurag Kumar.
Ali is accused of making derogatory remarks against Union Minister Smriti Irani on Facebook. He had moved interim bail application that was rejected by the judge, and the professor was then sent to jail. Ali had made an obscene Facebook post against the minister in March.
The case against Ali
As per reports, on July 9, the Supreme Court had denied protection from arrest to Professor Ali. While rejecting his application, the two-judge bench of the Supreme Court comprising of justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Hemant Gupta observed that social media could not be used to defame others. The judges further said that people must remain mindful of the language that they use against others while critiquing, criticising or mocking them on social media.
Shahryar Ali is the head of the Department of History in Firozabad’s SRK College. The 55-year-old had shared an obscene Facebook post with defamatory remarks against Union WCD Minister Smriti Irani. As per reports, Ali had absconded to evade police action and had tried to avoid arrest by remaining elusive and even absconding from his job.
The SRK College has stated that they do not endorse Ali’s statement and the college administration will not tolerate derogatory and foul remarks against women.
‘You can’t say anything you like and then want to get away
“You can’t defame women like this. You cannot use social media just to defame. What kind of language is being used? There is a language to criticise. There is a language to say jokes. You can’t say anything you like and then want to get away,” said the two-judge bench, denying anticipatory bail to Shaharyar Ali.
Ali had moved his anticipatory bail application in May 2021. The matter came up for hearing in the Apex Court on July 9. Earlier, the High Court had rejected the application and observed that the professor’s conduct of this kind prima facie did not entitle him to anticipatory bail and had remarked that Ali was entitled to surrender and seek regular bail, which would then be considered in accordance with the law.
Professor had played the ‘account hacked’ card
While challenging the orders of Allahabad High Court, Vikas Singh, the counsel of Ali, claimed before the Supreme Court that his client’s Facebook account was hacked, and as soon as he came to know about the obscene post, he published an apology.
The Apex Court was not impressed with the lame excuse and asked, “What you are saying is an afterthought. You used the same account to post your apology, but you say your account was hacked. This shows you are the one still using that account. Is there anything to show that your account had been hacked?” The counsel was unable to provide any proof of hacking.
The post against Union Minister
In March 2021, Ali was booked by Firozabad Police for an obscene Facebook post against Union Minister Smriti Irani. FIR was registered against him based on a complaint by a BJP leader. He was booked under Section 505 (2) of the Indian Penal Code for allegedly promoting enmity between communities, apart from Section 67A of the Information Technology Act for publishing obscene material.