PRAYAGRAJ: The Allahabad High Court recently said that liking an “obscene” post on social media does not constitute an offense.
However, the act of sharing or reposting such content will lead to legal consequences. The court, in its ruling on Wednesday, explained that sharing such a post falls under the category of “transmission” as per Section 67 of the Information Technology (IT) Act, and will be subject to penalties.
Justice Arun Kumar Singh Deshwal made these remarks as he dismissed the ongoing criminal proceedings against Mohd Imran Kazi from Agra, who had been charged under Section 67 of the IT Act and other sections of the Indian Penal Code for liking a post related to unlawful assembly.
The judge’s ruling stated, “I do not find any material which could connect the applicant with any objectionable post, as there is no offensive post available in the Facebook and WhatsApp accounts of the applicant. Therefore, no case is made out against the applicant.”
Justice Deshwal clarified that while the IT Act considers transmitting obscene material as an offense, in this particular case, “the applicant has liked the post of one Farhan Usman for unlawful assembly, but liking a post will not amount to publishing or transmitting the post, therefore, merely liking a post will not attract section 67 IT Act.”
The court also highlighted that Section 67 of the IT Act pertains to obscene material and not to provocative material.
The petitioner, Mohd Imran Kazmi, faced a criminal case for liking “provocative” messages on social media, which resulted in the assembly of about 600-700 individuals from the Muslim community for a procession conducted without permission. The Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) in Agra took note of the charge sheet and issued a non-bailable warrant against him on June 30, 2023.
(With agency inputs)

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