The Supreme Court made it clear that FIRs lodged, allegedly for pasting posters critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in connection with the vaccination drive, cannot be quashed at the behest of a third party.
A bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and M.R. Shah held that quashing FIRs at the behest of a third party will set a very wrong precedent in criminal law. It told advocate Pradeep Kumar Yadav, who was petitioner-in-person, to withdraw the petition, as it was not willing to entertain it. However, the top court clarified this will not come in the way of a genuinely aggrieved person, who moves court to quash an FIR.
The bench queried the petitioner as to how could it ascertain the details of the cases cited by him. It pointed out in exceptional cases, a petitioner’s parents can move the court if he or she is not around, but an FIR cannot be quashed at the behest of a third party.
After a brief hearing in the matter, Yadav sought permission to withdraw his PIL, which was allowed by the court. On July 19, the top court had asked Yadav to bring on record the cases registered and people arrested for allegedly pasting posters.
Yadav had contended that the court’s intervention was required, as the illegal arrests of the innocent general public have been made, for exercising their speech and expression by pasting these posters. The bench had said it cannot issue any blanket orders over the pasting of posters criticising the Centre’s vaccination policy.
The plea had sought direction from the top court to quash the FIRs registered by Delhi Police for allegedly pasting these posters.