Indian mainstream media showcase – Sec 507
Thats it ! I am calling uncle.
Ms Sagarika Ghose has a twitter account – big deal you say. A lot of Indian and international journos are on twitter. However, she is different. She seems to take every tweet personally, gets easily offended, and rains down abuse on those who pan her tweets. Lady, the point is you don’t have to reply to everyone and get your blood pressure up. You do not even have to be on Twitter.
Twitter is a participative public medium. Once you tweet, its out there in the internet. If you do not want that, you may choose to protect your tweets. If you open it up searching for upsides then you have to deal with the undesirable. You do not get to control whether your tweets are slammed or loved. The veterans (Vir Sanghvi, Pritish Nandy, Kanchan Gupta etc) have figured it out. They have been panned – but they never lose their composure. Some even avoid twitter wisely (Arnab of Times Now).
So far so good. Abuse and return-abuse. Like a power tennis match.
But she repeatedly threatened those who slam her tweets with Sec 507 of the IPC.
hahahHA. may the best Hindu win! better get some good lawyers..):
Section 507 IPC: criminal intimidation by anonymous communication. You’re in for it, my friend..
You’ll be in the dock for criminal intimidation one day..
amazing! amazing the way you talk..how free you are to say exactly what enters your filthy mind, , hiding under your fake identity
so is it considered Hindu to be anonymously rude and abusive..? if you are a Hindu, god save Hinduism..
Her stand is very unfortunate. It betrays a “Thats it ! I am calling uncle “ mentality of those privileged enough to have connections. Remember in school cricket matches, when the rich kid got out – he would take his bat, ball, and stumps and go home.
Can someone who slams your tweets, even calls you names be jailed under Sec 506/507 ?
* I am not a lawyer, but I am passionately interested in the field of justice.
Fact is : The Gen-Y twitterati do not need a good lawyer – a garden variety will do. She needs to get a real superstar lawyer to even go beyond the first step.
Requires major co-operation from other media houses. Requires co-operation from international companies like Google Inc, Twitter to trace. They in turn require production of warrants. Could attract negative foreign coverage. Will outrage the internet community and cause major harm to the channel. Unless of course, there is really a criminal intimidation.
First what is Sec 507. It is an extension of Sec 506. Lets look at both of them.
Section 506. Punishment for criminal intimidation
Whoever commits, the offence of criminal intimidation shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both;
If threat be to cause death or grievous hurt, etc.: -And if the threat be to cause death or grievous hurt, or to cause the destruction of any property by fire, or to cause an offence punishable with death or 1[imprisonment for life], or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years, or to impute, unchastity to a woman, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, or with fine, or with both.
Section 507. Criminal intimidation by an anonymous communication
Whoever commits the offence of criminal intimidation by an anonymous communication, or having taken precaution to conceal the name or abode of the person form whom the threat comes, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, in addition to the punishment provided for the offence by the last preceding section.
We also need 503
Section 503. Criminal intimidation
Whoever threatens another with any injury to his person, reputation or property, or to the person or reputation of any one in whom that person is interested, with intent to cause alarm to that person, or to cause that person to do any act which he is not legally bound to do, or to omit to do any act which that person is legally entitled to do, as the means of avoiding the execution of such threat, commits criminal intimidation.
Explanation-A threat to inure the reputation of any deceased person in whom the person threatened is interested, is within this section.
A, for the purpose of inducing B to desist from prosecuting a civil suit, threatens to burn B’s house. A is guilty of criminal intimidation.
Both 506 and 507 – REQUIRE 503 Criminal Intimidation. 507 is just the anonymous version of 506. In the case of the twitterati – there is no evidence of criminal intimidation whatsoever. The only statement resembling a threat was made by the journo herself.
If name calling can be passed off as crime, then the culpability picture turns fuzzy. To be sure, she dishes out her share of you-suck tweets. In fact, a large majority of her tweets are name calling and return abuse. In a court, her you-suck tweets are at least as intimidating to a 20 year old aam-aadmi twitterer as the reverse.
Both 506/507 are non – cognizable and bailable by law
Non-cognizable = Police require warrant to arrest (they can neither register an FIR, nor investigate, nor arrest without express directions from a competent court)
Bailable = you can get bail or anticipatory bail
Again – there must be actual criminal intimidation first
There must be an element of criminal intimidation. This means that there must be a open or veiled threat to actually commit a crime.
None of these are even close to criminal intimidation.
Your tweet sucks big time. I hate your style. You are a fake socialist sell out. You overlook corruption, You dont know Hinduism, You dont know Islam, You are a closet Hindu/Muslim/Christian/Alien. You are Hindu/Muslim/Alien/ hater. You yell.
The below would fall under criminal intimidation.
I am going to rob, burn, steal, maim, injure you personnally or cause damage to your property. Threats of a sexual nature. Obscenity and other communication intended to instill fear of crime.
Misuse of an already overloaded judicial system. Millions of jailed poor cant get a trial date
So what about her threat ? Clearly IPC 506/507 is dubious in this case based on available evidence of public tweets. What she is really threatening to do is to put you through the process ! Using connections it may be possible to obtain a warrant. You will have to spend an inordinate amount of time and effort at your expense to arrange for bail and defend it. A terrifying thought for most professionals who cant take off work.
In a country where millions of poor are awaiting trial dates and a creaking overloaded judicial system – it is in extremely bad taste to abuse the criminal justice system.
In mature democracies, such a misguided adventure would be met with stiff penalties from the court and ridicule from rival media channels. The person who is sued will almost immediately turn around and seek damages from the individual or corporation – when the case is tossed out.
But we live in India.