Published: 06th September 2019
Madras HC grants bail to Theni man arrested for insulting National flag in Facebook comment
Nevertheless, noting that the petitioner's custody may not be needed anymore, the judge granted bail to the petitioner on condition that he should provide surety and should not abscond
The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court granted bail to a Theni man who was arrested for allegedly posting an offensive Facebook comment insulting Indian National flag. The petitioner P Jothipasu of Bodi in Theni district was arrested on August 10, 2019, under Section 2 of Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971, among others, for allegedly posting a Facebook comment criticising the abolition of Article 370 of Jammu and Kashmir.
According to the prosecution, the said post contained a picture showing the Indian National flag as toilet paper, along with the photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, Jothipasu contended that the comment was not his own. He further argued that even though the allegation made by the prosecution emerges to be true, the action would come within the realm of 'freedom of expression' guaranteed under Article 19 of the Indian constitution.
Hearing the plea, Justice GR Swaminathan orally observed that even though citizens have the right or freedom to express, the same should not be for insulting anyone, especially our nation and the national flag. Nevertheless, noting that the petitioner's custody may not be needed anymore (in the present case), the judge granted bail to the petitioner on condition that he should provide surety and should not abscond. Jothipasu is a member of Makkal Athikaram outfit.