Telangana HC quashes FIR against law grad who questioned police order

Vijay was summoned to Begum Bazar police station over a social media post on April 26, 2023, on the basis of complaint filed sub-inspector R Pavan. After he visited the station, an FIR was filed against him under sections 504 and 505(2) of the IPC

Hyderabad: The Telangana High Court has quashed FIR against a Hyderabad-based law graduate, Vijay Gopal, who was booked on charges of ‘promoting enmity among groups’ for questioning Telangana police’s prohibitory order ahead of Telangana Open School Society (TOSS) SSC and Intermediate examination last year. He had called law & order in Telangana ‘a joke’.

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“Law & Order has become a joke in Telangana… If you cannot do your job without being sooo insecured all the time, you should find another job. This is nothing but abuse of offce. lt’s just an exam, not some war. Prohibitory orders, silly (sic),” Vijay Gopal, 35, had posted on Twitter (now X) in an apparent dig at the police department after they issued a prohibitory order near examination centres.

Subsequently, according to reports, Vijay was summoned to Begum Bazar police on April 26, 2023, on the basis of complaint filed sub-inspector R Pavan. After he visited the station, an FIR was filed against him under sections 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and 505(2) (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill will between classes) of the IPC.

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Vijay later alleged that he was detained for several hours for criticizing the prohibitory orders.
“The Commissioner and other senior officers target individuals by using innocent SI, CIs or constables by getting them to file complaints on their behalf,” Vijay alleged.

The Begum Bazaar police, however, claimed that Vijay was not detained and said, “He was called to the police station and was immediately sent back after verification.”

He later tweeted: “For calling out abuse of power by the state, Hyderabad Police Commissioner filed an FIR on me on April 26, for promoting Enmity between classes IPC 505(2) for this comment on the article(sic).”

He later moved the high court to challenge the FIR, contending that his comments did not constitute any criminal offence.

While hearing the petition, Justice T Madhavi Devi said the remark may not have been in “good taste” but it was a general comment with no intention to provoke breach of public peace.

Quashing the FIR against the petitioner on January 2, 2024, the court observed that the IPC sections invoked against the accused were not applicable in this case. “Court finds that in this case, there are no two groups as required to attract the said provisions and there appears to be no intention to create or promote feeling of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different groups or of disturbing the public peace,” the court said.

“In view of the same, this Court does not find any of the above ingredients in the complaint/FlR No.l04 of 2023 on the file of Begum Bazar Police Station, Hyderabad to attract the provisions of Sections 504 and 505 (2) ofIPC,” it added.

Accordingly, the court said, the Criminal Petition is allowed and FIR No. 104 of 2023 on the file of Begum Bazar Police Station, Hyderabad is quashed.

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