The Andhra Pradesh High Court held that the creation of ill-will against the Chief Minister’s office would not amount to creation of ill-will or hatred between the two groups.
The allegations in the complaint are that the petitioner, who is a journalist, and who was the administrator of a Whatsapp group, had forwarded a media post that a large amount of gold had been seized by the authorities in Gannavaram Airport from a passenger, who had arrived from Dubai.
The social media post further stated that a special team from Hyderabad had arrived and was conducting an enquiry which showed that the wife of a key-officer in the Chief Minister’s office is said to be the person from whom the gold had been seized and that this person had assistance of two senior officers, who were all being investigated. This message is said to have been forwarded from a Whatsapp group called “Time to Time News”.
Advocate T. Sreedhar, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that the allegations in the complaint and also the contents of the remand report show that the said allegations would not amount to an offence under Section 153-A nor Section 505 (2) IPC.
He further submitted that there is no allegation of any conspiracy entered by the petitioner with any other person to set up a case under Section 120-B IPC.
Y.L. Siva Kalpana Reddy, Special Public Prosecutor for CID, contended that the petitioner is habituated to posting messages and news items on the social media denigrating the dignity of the office of the Chief Minister and its officials and the same is being done in pursuance of his political ideology as he belongs to a political party which is presently in opposition.
She submitted that the contents of the message clearly attract the offences under Section 153-A and Section 505 (2) IPC.
She contended that the said offence has been committed with a view to downgrade the image of the office of the Chief Minister and connected officials in conjunction with other persons who hold similar views and consequently, the provisions of Section 120-B IPC would be applicable.
The single judge bench of Justice R. Raghunandan Rao stated that the ingredients necessary for making out an offence under Section 153-A(b) is the commission of any act which is prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different religious racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities, and which disturbs or is likely to disturb the public tranquillity.
The bench said that the social media message which is said to have been forwarded by the petitioner, even if it is said to have caused ill-will or hatred between the members of the office of the Chief Minister and other persons, would not attract the provisions of Section 153-A could not attract the aforesaid provisions of Section 505(2).
It was observed that at best, creation of ill-will against the Chief Minister’s office would not amount to creation of ill-will or hatred between the two groups.
The court held that the provisions of Section 153-A and 505(2) IPC are not attracted and consequently Section 120-B IPC would not arise.
Case title: Kollu Ankababu v/s Tirupathi Ramesh
Citation: Crl.P.No.8348 of 2022