Outrage in society alone cannot be a justification to suppress free speech, a Delhi court has observed, Live Law reported on Saturday.

The court made the observation while dismissing a plea seeking a sedition case against Kerala MLA KT Jaleel for his remarks about Jammu and Kashmir on social media.

In a Facebook post in August, Jaleel had referred to Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir as “Azad Kashmir” and Jammu and Kashmir as “India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir”, according to The Indian Express.

“The court is mindful of the fact that the alleged statements of the accused are unpopular, outrages and are rather offensive…however, it must be kept in mind that the freedom of speech protects actions that the society may find very offensive,” Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Harjeet Singh Jaspal said.

The complaint against Jaleel was filed by Advocate GS Mani, who had alleged that the MLA made “anti-national remarks” in his social media post.

The lawyer had sought registration of a first information report against Jaleel under Sections Sections 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity between groups), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), 504 (disturbing public peace), 505(1) (public mischief) and 505 (2) (public mischief with intent to cause, fear or alarm to the public) of the Indian Penal Code.

At the hearing, the court rejected Mani’s argument that Jaleel’s post about Jammu and Kashmir could create enmity between Hindus and Muslims, reported Live Law.

“The social set-up, the secular thread and fraternity in democratic Indian background cannot be assumed to be so feeble that it would break or get bruised on random statements of selfish politicians,” Justice Jaspal said. “And I can proudly say the same about national integration as well.”

The judge also said that the post appeared to have been written in haste with an aim to get undue political mileage.

“The maker of the statement ought to be a person of misconceived knowledge, misconstrued facts and misplaced beliefs,” he said. “Thus the statement by itself ought to be condemned in strictest words.”