Rajasthan High Court: Sandeep Mehta, J. while allowing the present miscellaneous petitions with regard to a placard with inscription “Smash Brahminical Patriarchy” held that,
“…words on a poster at best convey feeling of person concerned regarding being strongly opposed to the Brahminical Patriarchal system and desirous of denouncing the same.
Whether or not to follow or oppose the patriarchal system in the society is a matter of personal choice and cannot be thrust down anyone’s throat.”
Petitions were filed against the CEO of Twitter — Jack Dorsey and Anna M.M. Vetticad a journalist.
Respondent alleged that he belongs to Brahmin Community and has immense religious faith. He claimed that Brahmin Community is highly respected in the society at large as it was responsible for formulation of social rites and customs.
Further it was alleged that, some people were indulging in tarnishing the image of the Brahmins in the society.
Jack Dorsey had held a meeting while he was visiting India and after the meeting a photo was tweeted wherein a poster bearing slogan “Smash Brahminical Patriarchy” was displayed.
Complaint revolves around the above-said for being a highly objectionable photograph and same maligns the brahmin society. Feelings of the entire community were badly hurt by this tweet.
Thus complainant prayed for petitioners being prosecuted for offences under Section 295-A, 500, 501, 504, 505 and 120-B, Penal Code, 1860.
Petitioner’s Counsel contended that petitioners did not act in a manner aimed at hurting the sentiments of Brahmin society. A social event was organised in which the petitioners were present and an unknown lady came and handed over the alleged placard to petitioner.
The above moment was captured in the questioned photograph and was casually posted by the petitioner — Anna M.M. Vetticad on her Twitter account without having any intention to hurt sentiments, religious or otherwise, of any section of the society.
Further contending that, cognizance of an offence under Section 295-A cannot be taken except with the previous sanction of the Central Government or the State Government.
Merely by the so called publication of these words, it cannot be accepted that religious sentiments of any citizen of this country were hurt.
Petitioners cannot be held responsible for committing the offences attributed to them.
Counsel representing petitioner Anna M.M. Vetticad submitted that petitioner never intended to offended anyone and was ready to tweet an apology so as to placate the hurt sentiments, if so, of the complainant or any other person of Brahmin community.
Bench stated that words referred to supra cannot be construed as having any direct link with the religious sentiments of any section of society.
“Phrase which has been castigated as offending in the FIR, may be construed as laying a challenge to the sociological concepts of a particular section/gender of the Brahmin community, but by no stretch of imagination can it be perceived that these words can even remotely be considered as hurting the religious sentiments of any citizen of India nor the same can be interpreted as creating a religion based rift in any section of society.”
Further the Court noted that Counsel for the petitioner Anna M.M. Vetticad has assured that she would post an apology on her “Twitter Account” for placating the sentiments of the complainant or any other person, who may have been offended thereby.
Thus in view of the above miscellaneous petitions deserve to be allowed and are hereby allowed. [Anna M.M. Vetticad v. State, 2020 SCC OnLine Raj 621, decided on 07-04-2020]