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Allahabad HC Rules that Liking A Post Online Doesn’t Amount to Publishing or Transmitting Obscene Content

“A post or message can be said to be published when it is posted, and a post or message can be said to be transmitted when it is shared or retweeted,” the court held.

In a case reminiscent of the events leading up to 2015's Shreya Singhal verdict, the Allahabad High Court recently ruled that merely liking a post online does not amount to publishing or transmitting obscene material online, and will not attract legal penalties for the same. The matter was first reported by LiveLaw. What was the Allahabad High Court case about? Mohammad Imran Kazi wanted the court to quash a chargesheet filed against him in 2019. The allegations: that the "provocative" messages Kazi posted on social media led to 600 to 700 Muslims holding an "unlawful" procession. Permission had not been granted for the procession—which allegedly caused a "serious threat to breach of peace". The case was filed by the Mantola police (under Agra district)—with the charges including punishments for rioting, rioting while armed with deadly weapons, offences committed by unlawful assemblies, and publishing or transmitting obscene material electronically (under Section 67 of the IT Act), among others. Kazi's lawyers argued that the police had no material against him. For example, the Agra Cyber Crime Cell's report found that there was no content on Kazi's Facebook profile at all. In its counter-affidavit, the Uttar Pradesh government referred to the case diary, alleging that Kazi's Facebook was empty because he'd deleted his posts. However, the content of these posts was still circulating on WhatsApp and other social media platforms. Earlier this month, the Allahabad High Court directed the investigating officer in the case to appear in court, along with a report indicating that these "objectionable" posts…

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