Radical Muslims are well-known for trying to throttle the voice of free-thinking individuals. Now, YouTuber Maridhas has given them a serious lesson by defeating them along with DMK in court battle.
Madras High Court relieves Maridhas
Madras High Court has quashed another First Information Report (FIR) filed against YouTuber Maridhas. The FIR was filed against him by Tirunelveli city police for allegedly making a causal connection between Tablighi Jamaat members and the spread of Coronavirus.
In his judgment, Justice G.R Swaminathan specifically observed that Maridhas was only passing off information which was already available in public domain. The honourable judge further added that Maridhas was simply explaining his views regarding an event that was ‘undoubtedly characterised as super-spreaders’.
Criticism of Tablighi Jamaat was justified
Court observed that a slightly exaggerated comment against Tablighi Jamaat could also be accepted given the time period during which it was made. The court took a judicial notice of the fact that the congregation by Jamaatis was already subject to sharp criticism in media — so, a person passing off information already available in public domain can use it to pass-on more severe criticism.
The court also quashed any possibility of Maridhas being held liable for intending to outrage the religious feelings of Muslims. The Judge effectively made it clear that criticism of a specific group belonging to Islam cannot be construed as criticism of Islam.
In its observation, Court said “…In fact, the petitioner has given several disclaimers in his video. He repeatedly cautioned the viewers that his presentation should not be misconstrued as criticism of Muslims. There is no reference to religion even in the remotest sense of the term in the video in question. By no stretch of imagination could Section 295A of IPC have been invoked.”
An FIR was filed on Maridhas under sections 292(A) (publishing grossly indecent or scurrilous matter or matter intended for blackmail), 295(A) (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and 505(ii) (statement creating or promoting enmity or ill-will between classes) of the IPC and 67 (publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) of the Information Technology Act.
Second FIR in a row
Maridhas has been under controversy for quite some-time now. On December 9, 2021, the cyber-crime branch of Madurai City Police had arrested him for his tweet criticising M K Stalin’s DMK government. After the unfortunate demise of CDS Gen. Bipin Rawat in a chopper crash, Maridhas had tweeted, “Is TN turning into another Kashmir under the DMK regime?”
In another tweet, Maridhas had rained down heavily on people celebrating Gen. Rawat’s sacrificial death. In a now unavailable tweet, he had said that DMK is the best choice for people working for Tamil separatism from India, as many DMK supporters were seen mocking the death of an army commander in the state.
Based on the above-mentioned tweets, the Stalin government had booked him under various sections, including Section 124(A) — sedition. However, Madras High Court had come to the rescue of freedom of expression. In its observation, the court had said, “In the age of social media, a YouTuber or any person commenting on questions of public importance would also be entitled to the very same right which accord to media and journalists under Article 19(1)(a)”
Tablighi Jammat: A scourge for even the Arabs
When India was trying to contain the Coronavirus, Tablighi Jamaat had deliberately made its mission to spread the virus in India through various means. In fact, they used various means like ‘Thook Jihad‘, which later came under heavy criticism from various organisations. Recently, the nation of Saudi Arabia banned it by calling it ‘a gate for terrorism’.
What Maridhas did was inform the citizens of India about a dangerous organisation trying to kill 1.4 billion people. There was nothing wrong in neither his intention nor his act. Moreover, he is a staunch patriot trying to serve the nation in his individual capacity.
Time and again, the virtually uncensored platform of YouTube has been creating problems for groups and people who want to escape democratic accountability. Madras High Court’s judgment on YouTuber Maridhas has given a sigh of relief to people hounded by people like Stalin in power.