Think twice before you forward a Facebook post or a WhatsApp message that may hurt religious sentiments or is offensive to a community. It may land you in trouble.
Hearing the bail plea of actor-turned-politician S.Ve. Shekher for sharing a Facebook post containing derogatory remarks about women journalists, the Madras High Court has observed that such message forwarded on social media amounted to accepting and endorsing it.
Justice S Ramathilagam said that Shekher, instead of being a role model to his followers, had set a wrong precedent.
“What is said is important, but who has said it, is very important in a society because people respect persons for the social status. When a celebrity-like person forwards messages like this, the common public will start believe it that this type of things are going on. This sends a wrong message to the society at a time when we are talking about women empowerment,” Ramathilagam observed in the order.
“Daily we see young emotional boys getting arrested for doing these type of activities in the social media. Law is the same for everyone and people should not lose faith in the judiciary. Mistakes and crimes are not same. Only children can make mistakes which can be pardoned. If the same is done by elderly people, it becomes an offence,” he noted.
This is not first time arrests have been made for posting objectionable things on social media. People have faced music for writing abusive posts on social media and sharing them among their friend. Last year, the Uttar Pradesh police had arrested seven people for posting ‘objectionable’ things against the state chief minister Yogi Adityanath.
The court in the latest case also came down heavily on unparliamentary language against women. It stated that no body has any right to abuse women and if done it is a violation of rights.
“When calling a person with community name itself is a crime, using such unparliamentary words is more heinous,” the court said while pronouncing its order on the anticipatory bail plea.
Taking serious note of the derogatory social media posts, the Court said that talking is different from typing as the latter becomes a document and one cannot go back saying that he had not done that.
“These messages are deleted and not erased. People should not go with a feeling that we can air anything and get away with a word sorry,” the Madras High Court cautioned.