SC quashes charges against City couple for FB comments

SC quashes charges against City couple for FB comments

A Bengaluru-couple facing criminal prosecution for posting a Facebook post against traffic police has got relief from the Supreme Court which quashed the case, saying they used the platform to vent out their grievances in a bona fide manner.

A bench of V Gopala Gowda and R Banumathi set aside a Karnataka High Court order refusing to intervene in the matter. Manik Taneja and his wife Sakshi Jawa were booked under the serious charges of assault and criminal intimidation by the Bengaluru police on June 14, 2013. 

A day before, the couple’s Maruti SX4 had rammed an auto-rickshaw resulting in injuries to one passenger. 

They had paid due compensation to the injured and took care of hospital charges as well. But Taneja's wife, who was driving the car was asked to come to Pulakeshi Nagar Traffic Police Station, where the police allegedly misbehaved with them.

After the incident, they vent out their anger against the police on the Facebook page. They also forwarded an email complaining about the alleged harassment meted out to them by police inspector Karim. The police acted promptly and registered the FIR against the couple. They approached the apex court after the High Court declined to quash the FIR in the matter.

Allowing their plea, the apex court bench said, “The page created by the traffic police on the Facebook was a forum for the public to put forth their grievances. In our considered view, the appellants might have posted the comment online under the bona fide belief that it was within the permissible limits.” 

The comments posted on the Facebook may not attract ingredients of assault and criminal intimidation, the bench said.