By LE Desk

Bengaluru, March 25: In partial relief to actor Kangana Ranaut, the High Court of Karnataka on Thursday quashed both the First Information Report (FIR) and the Tumakuru city magistrate court’s order of directing the police to register the FIR against her for posting a tweet commenting on those opposing farm laws.

However, the HC remanded the matter to the magistrate court to consider afresh the private complaint, filed by one Ramesh Naik L., who had sought initiation of criminal proceedings against Ranaut.

Justice H.P. Sandesh passed the order while allowing the petition filed by Ranaut questioning the correctness of the direction issued by the magistrate on October 12, 2020 to the Kyathsandra police to register the FIR against her, The Hindu reported.

The HC said that the magistrate, without applying mind on whether the averments in the private complaint constitute the offences alleged, passed a mechanical order of directing the police to investigate the matter.

During the hearing, Justice Sandesh orally observed that it has become common nowadays to make such comments/allegation [on social media] and celebrities need to exhibit restrain. “Who gave you the power to make such allegations? What would you have done if some one uttered same words against you,” the Judge orally asked her advocate.

Ranaut had tweeted: “People who spread misinformation and rumours about CAA [Citizenship Amendment Act] that caused riots are the same people who are now spreading misinformation about Farmer’s Bill and causing terror in the nation, they are Terrorists. You very well know what I said but simply like to spread misinformation.”

Earlier, it was contended on behalf of Ms. Ranuat that the contents of her tweet has no ingredient of any of the offences, like intent to cause riot or promoting enmity between various groups or to provoke breach of peace, as was alleged in the complaint.

“The tweet makes no reference to any identifiable groups. It merely refers to persons who spread misinformation deliberately to the detriment of the general public. It is pertinent to note that it is not the petitioner [Ms. Ranaut] herself that is making reference to farmers as terrorists, but the media (including news reports and other social media sources) who are creating such a reference where it does not exist,” it has been contended in her petition.

It has been further contented in the petition that “…the furore being created on social media platforms against the petitioner and her tweet is not on the basis of the words of the tweet itself but on the interpretation being forcibly accorded to it by certain persons with malafides vested against the petitioner.”

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