“Quashing FIR At 3rd Party’s Behest Would Set Wrong Precedent In Criminal Law”: Supreme Court Dismisses Plea Seeking Quashing Of FIR’s Against Surfaced Pamphlets Questioning Vaccination Policy
The Supreme Court today dismissed as withdrawn a plea seeking writ or direction to the Commissioner of Police, DGP, not to register any case or FIR in relation to COVID 19 posters/advertisements/brochures surfaced in context to vaccination/vaccination policy of the Government.
The Division Bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice MR Shah while dismissing the petition said,
“We can't quash the FIR at the behest of 3rd party Mr Yadav. We can't start entertaining PIL's for quashing FIR. This will otherwise set a very wrong precedent in criminal law.”
On July 19, 2021, the Court had adjourned the matter for two weeks upon Advocate Pradeep Kumar Yadav’s submission that he would produce on affidavit details of the FIRs which were stated to be lodged against individuals in the NCT of Delhi and the State of Uttar Pradesh.
It was argued that the Court in a catena 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.
Advocate Pradeep Kumar Yadav had filed the said petition, stating that at least 24 FIRs were registered in a day after pamphlets questioning the Hon’ble Prime Minister on Vaccination Policy got into the limelight.
Reliance was placed on the observation of Justice Chandrachud in Suo Moto petition on COVID crisis, wherein it was noted that there should be free flow of information and the voices of citizens should not be clamped down if they ask for help on Social Media Platforms; “We want to make it very clear that if citizens communicate their grievance on social media and internet, we cannot call it wrong. If any citizen is harassed for making a grievance for bed or oxygen by the police, we will take it as a Contempt of Court. Let this message go to all DGPs, to all States. Let us hear out our citizens and not clamp down their voices.”.
Reference was also made to the Apex Court judgement in Shreya Singhal vs. Union of India, AIR 2015 SC 1523 in which the Court while setting aside Sec. 66-A of I.T Act which constituted an offence for sharing an information in the social media has held that an information sharing in the social media does not constitute any criminal offence under the I.T. Act to observe that in contrary to these decisions, the Authorities are registering FIR against the innocent persons over their hate speech against the Hon’ble PM with regard to his official functions over the second wave of COVID-19 crises and Government vaccine policies.
In light of the above, the plea had sought the issuance of direction/order/writ for quashing of FIRs in the context of the present matter, calling for records from the respondent as to the registration of FIRs and to stop registration of further FIRs as citizens have only questioned about the status of vaccination policy.
Case Title: Pradeep Kumar Yadav Versus Union Of India And Ors.