The Bombay High Court on Thursday directed the Maharashtra government and the police not to take any action or file chargesheets in any of the three cases against Mumbai resident Sunaina Holey till January 12, Live Law reported.
Holey was booked for posting allegedly offensive tweets against Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and his son and state minister Aaditya Thackeray. The High Court was hearing the final arguments on her plea seeking the quashing of the three FIRs. Holey’s counsel finished his arguments on Thursday, while the state will begin its final arguments on Monday.
A Division Bench of Justice SS Shinde and Justice MS Karnik also directed Holey’s counsel to tell her not to comment on the petitions as they were currently being heard by the court, according to Bar and Bench. During Thursday’s hearing, senior advocate Manoj Mohite and Additional Public Prosecutor JP Yagnik – both appearing for the Maharashtra government – pointed out more allegedly inflammatory tweets by Holey. They asked the court to refrain her from making such statements and pointed out a recent tweet where she had criticised the lengthy legal process by saying there were repeated adjournments or “tareekh pe tareekh”.
But the court, while directing Holey to refrain from making such statements, also laughed at the choice of words and said it did not have a problem with the tweets. “What she said is a fact,” Justice Shinde said, according to Bar and Bench. “We understand that for a litigant their matter is the most important matter. Amongst the thousands of cases filed, for each litigant their matter is most important...There is even a television programme by that name.”
The case relates to three tweets Holey had posted on different occasions. In the first tweet, Holey had shared a video of a man blaming Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the coronavirus lockdown, and tagged Uddhav Thackeray. In the second tweet, she posted a caricature of the prime minister and the chief minister. The third one relates to her response to an allegedly abusive tweet made by an unidentified user. The user had reportedly asked how Holey, a north Indian, could criticise ministers from Maharashtra, to which she had responded that it made no difference as she is an Indian.
Soon after, three FIRs were filed against her – one at the Bandra Kurla Complex cyber crime police station, another at Azad Maidan, and the third one at Tulinj police station in Palghar. The FIRs were registered following complaints made by several persons, including by one Rohan Chavhan, a leader of the Shiv Sena’s youth wing, Yuva Sena.
Sunaina Holey describes herself as a “Swayamsevika”, a term Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh workers use for themselves, and a “proud Bhakt” on Twitter.
She was arrested in August and released on bail in the case pertaining to the FIR registered against her by the Bandra Kurla Complex cyber crimes police. On the remaining two FIRs, she was served notices under section 41A(1) of the CrPC, and was asked to visit the concerned police stations for interrogation.