In what another proof of Indian judiciary being hand in glove with the ruling Hindutva regime, the High Court of Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir has ruled that the statements calling Kashmir “occupied’ and its residents ‘slaves’ do not enjoy protection under Article 19(A) of the constitution, which speaks about freedom of speech.
The court said, “It is one thing to criticize the government for its negligence and express outrage on the violation of human rights of the people, but it is quite another to advocate that the people of a particular part of the country are slaves of the government of India or that they are under the occupation of armed forces of the country”.
Justice Sanjay Dhar made these remarks while hearing a petition filed by advocate Muzamil Butt seeking to quash FIR registered against him under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The FIR was registered against Butt for his Facebook posts criticizing the killings of civilians in Larnoo village in October 2018.
Seven civilians were killed in an explosion at the site of a gunfight between government forces and militants.
Butt had also expressed outrage on social media platforms at other incidents of violence, which was within his right to free speech, the judge said in his order. In two Facebook posts, Butt had said that Kashmir has been occupied by the military, “which is like cancer”, and that the people of the Valley are like slaves to the Union government, the judge added.
By making these comments, Butt was supporting the claim that Jammu and Kashmir is not a part of India, the court said.
“In my opinion, the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under the Constitution cannot be stretched to such a limit as to allow a person to question the status of a part of the country or its people,” it said.
The court said that by posting these messages, the advocate has crossed the line that separates freedom of speech from the reasonable restrictions on it.
“The intention of a person can be gathered from the words spoken or written or other expressions,” the judge said.—KMS