'What gave rise to FIRs?": Bombay High Court slams Maharashtra Govt for student's arrest over tweet against NCP leader Sharad Pawar

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The Bombay High Court on Monday condemned the Maharashtra government for keeping a student Nikhil Bhamre in jail for over a month for posting an alleged derogatory tweet against Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar, PTI reported.

Court was hearing a petition filed on by the student, Nikhil Bhamre, challenging the cases lodged against him and seeking his release from the custody as an interim measure.

Perusing the record, the division bench of Justice SS Shinde and Justice Milind Jhadav noted that no name was mentioned in the tweets posted by Bhamre as alleged. To this, Court observed that nobody was named and still the government kept Bhamre in prison for a month. "How is this a basis of everything?" enquired Justice Shinde. 

Bhamre has been booked under Sections 153, 153A, (Promoting enmity between groups) 500, 501 (defamation), 504 (criminal intimidation), 505, 506 (statements leading to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Further stating displeasure at the authorities for keeping Bhamre in prison, despite the concerned FIR missing name of the leader as alleged, Court said that there are 100s and 1000s of tweets posted everyday and asked the government whether it will take cognizance of each and every tweet that it finds offensive.

Court said that if the government starts acting like that it will end up damaging the name of the person (Pawar) who has received the second highest civilian award (Padma Vibhushan).

Even the towering personality (Pawar) will not like that such a student be kept in jail, Court noted.

Posting the matter for further hearing on June 16, Court directed the Chief Public Prosecutor (PP) of Maharashtra, Aruna Pai to take instructions from the State Home Ministry and make a statement of no objection for releasing Bhamre from custody.

Court said to Pai that “in its humble opinion grace of the state will be saved if he comes and makes this statement before it.”