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Freedom Of Speech And Expression Not An Absolute Right: Bombay HC

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Friday said that freedom of expression and expression provided under Article 19 of the Constitution is not an absolute right.

The court made the remarks while refusing to grant interim protection from arrest to a woman charged by the Mumbai and Palghar police for allegedly making offensive remarks on Twitter against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and his son Aditya Thackeray.

A bench of Justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik, however, accepted the state government’s oral assurance that the woman Sunaina Holey would not be arrested in the case for at least the next two weeks.

A bench headed by Justice SS Shinde said, “Perhaps the perception of citizens is that freedom of speech and expression is an absolute right without any restriction.”

The bench was hearing a criminal petition by Sunaina Holey, seeking to quash and set aside the three FIRs filed against her through advocate Abhinav Chandrachud. Holly also sought interim protection from arrest, pending trial in the case.

Three FIRs were lodged against Holey, with Yuva Sena member Rohan Chavan on Twitter complaining about posting objectionable and derogatory remarks against the CM and his son.

Holey was booked under 505 (punishment for public mischief statements) and 153 (A) (punishment for promoting enmity between various religious groups) under the Indian Penal Code and other provisions of the IT Act.

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