Read order: Sonu Bairwa v. State of M.P. & Ors 

LE Staff

Bhopal, July 27, 2021: The Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court has held that the Chief Minister’s social media posts cannot be equated with an administrative order or instruction, and that every social media post of a government functionary is not necessarily seen, read and followed in the administrative hierarchy.

While hearing a plea by one Sonu Bairwa who was detained on orders from the District Magistrate under the National Security Act, 1980 (NSA) for indulging in black marketing of Remedesivir injections, the Division Bench of Justice Sujoy Paul and Justice Anil Verma observed that the DM, acting in accordance with views of the Chief Minister expressed in a social media post, was not “acting under dictate”. 

Counsel for the Petitioner pleaded that since the Chief Minister in his various social media posts has expressed that persons indulging in black marketing of Remedesivir injections shall be detained under the NSA, the DM was acting “under dictate” while passing the order for detention.

Maintaining difference with the same, the High Court found that such contention of the counsel lacked substance and remarked that social media posts cannot be equated with an administrative order.

Disagreeing with the contention that the order of detention is beyond the purview of Section 3(2) of NSA Act, the Bench said that District Magistrate took a plausible view that public order was being threatened by the petitioner.

“If ‘public order’ is breached or threatened, in order to maintain ‘public order’, the NSA Act can very well be invoked. Thus, ‘explanation’ appended to Sub-Section 2 of Section 3 of NSA Act will not exclude the operation of NSA Act in a case of this nature where ‘public order’ is breached, threatened and put to jeopardy,” added the Bench.

Therefore, the HC concluded that the District Magistrate has used his discretion in accordance with the law and no interference of the High Court was warranted.

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