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No FIR lodged against Captain Murugan, police tell court


After the anticipatory bail application under Section 438 CrPC was disposed of, the court also maintained that if one cannot write sarcasm properly, he needs proper training in the art of writing sarcasm and till then, it will be better for him to write in plain language so that there is no scope of confusion at all.

TFM Report 

The saga of Captain Murugan took a surprising turn on Saturday, after the officer in charge (OC) of Imphal Police Station submitted to the Court of Sessions Judge, Imphal West, that no FIR has been registered against the petitioner (Captain Murugan) in connection with his controversial facebook post. 

In the wake of the ace weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu clinching a silver medal in the ongoing Tokyo Olympics, 2020, one Omen Achom (32) of Khonghampat Mayai Leikai, uploaded a post on Facebook on July 24, where he has an account as ‘Captain Murugan’. 

“OMG… Chinese girl from Manipur win Olympic Silver for India. Why did India hired this Chinese girl who are fit to be only in Spa and Saloons and Restaurants, who are slut shamed for wearing “tiny” clothes, who are often asked “what’s your rate?” who are often sexually molested, raped and harassed in mainland India and by the paramilitary forces at home. Nation wants to Know!!,” he wrote on his Facebook wall. 

His post was an instant hit and drew mixed reactions. While some took offence to the post, some argued that the post was sarcasm and he was trying to point out the issue of racism against the Northeast people. An organisation reportedly lodged a complaint to the DGP, Manipur against Captain Murugan. Some sections of the media also reported on the issue sensationally, amidst the fervour that was sweeping the state in view of Mirabai Chanu’s feat. 

On July 26, Omen filed an application under section 438 CrPC, praying for granting pre-arrest bail and ad-interim relief. He is a research scholar in the Department of Film Studies, The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, Telangana. He is on leave at present. 

Omen’s counsel submitted that northeasterners have usually been subjected to certain forms of abusive, ill-treatment along with slur and vulgar languages with the intent of racial remarks have been continued as a rampant culture. The petitioner, being an activist, has brought to the knowledge of the public relating to the constant perpetration of such remarks or acts, as such in a bonafide manner to highlight the double standard of the mainland Indians towards Northeast people. 

It was also stated that the petitioner has no any ill-motive, ill-intention to cause or promote any social chaos, incitement between or amongst the different groups of religious communities and prejudicial to state harmony and specially to Mirabai Chanu.

The court then directed the OC of Imphal PS to furnish a report regarding the matter, while rejecting the pre arrest bail prayer. The bail hearing was held on Saturday. 

The report submitted by the OC on Saturday stated that no FIR was registered against the petitioner in connection with the facebook post. The report also mentioned that Omen appeared before the OC, Imphal PS on July 28 and submitted a “written apology” for the “misunderstanding” created by his post. 

In his written apology, Omen said, “… Facebook post I uploaded was made on a sarcastic note out of my own experiences of ill-treatment and certain form of abusive slur or vulgar languages (with the intent of racial remarks) which are often subjected to the people from the North East India. I would like to clarify that in my post, I had no ill motive or ill intention to hurt the sentiments of any individual(s)/group(s) or to cause or promote any social chaos. And, it was not intended to defame our sister Mirabai Chanu or anyone. 

“If unintentionally/unknowingly my Facebook post have hurt any one or their sentiments, I offer my sincere apologies for the misunderstanding it created. I would rather like to take this proud, joyous and celebratory moment to congratulate our pride Mirabai Chanu for winning the Silver Medal in the Tokyo Olympic Games, 2020 and for bringing laurel to the State and country. 

As no FIR was lodged against the petitioner regarding his Facebook post, the court observed that it was clear that there was no apprehension of the petitioner being arrested. Accordingly, the anticipatory bail application under Section 438 CrPC is disposed of as infructuous, stated the order by the court. 

The court further observed that another aspect in the present case in hand is that many people are supporting the Facebook post of Captain Murugan in social media by stating that people of Manipur are not able to understand the true meaning of the post written in the form of ‘SARCASM’. 

The dictionary meaning of sarcasm is ‘the use of irony to mock or convey contempt’. In plain words, sarcasm is intended to express the opposite meaning in a mockery sense, it added. 

“The freewheeling keyboard maniac supporters of Captain Murugan say that the people of Manipur cannot understand the post made in sarcasm and are very reactive,” the court observed. 

“Speech, either written or spoken, is used to convey one’s views to the mass. If the writer has failed to do so, the fault lies with him and not with the people. It will be preposterous and naive to presume that all people, except a few self styled social media intellects, are not able to understand the post written in sarcasm”. 

The court also maintained that if one cannot write sarcasm properly, he needs proper training in the art of writing sarcasm and till then, it will be better for him to write in plain language so that there is no scope of confusion at all. 

“The best sarcasm in the subject matter is written by veteran actress Rekha in Hindi where she has exposed the double standard in the treatment given to the people of NE India. It will be useful to emulate the style of Rekha till proper training is received in writing sarcasm,” the court noted. 

Interestingly, the court, in its order, expressed its reservations to “the prevailing trend of posting anything on everything” specially in social media medium on the “pretext of exercising fundamental right of free speech as enshrined in the Constitution of India, without having any scant respect for infringements caused to the fundamental rights of fellow citizens”. 

The court noted that it is the settled proposition of law that freedom of speech as enshrined in Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution also includes freedom of speech of press and as a necessary extension in social media also. 

“However, this freedom is subject to reasonable restrictions as enumerated under Article 19(2) such as security of nation, public order, decency, defamation or incitement to an offence. In jurisprudence, there is a maxim that ‘for every right there is a corresponding duty’. Thus, while exercising one’s fundamental right, there is a duty on him to the effect that his right does not violate rights of other persons”.  

The whole idea of conferring fundamental rights under Article 19(1) and reasonable restrictions under Article 19(2) to Article 19(6) is based on this established legal framework, the court noted. 

“In short, the fundamental rights are not absolute and it can be controlled by any of the reasonable restrictions provided by the Constitution”. 

The court also mentioned Arnab Ranjan Goswami versus Union of India, (2020) 14 SCC 12, Supreme Court and Amit Sahni (Shaheen Bagh, In re) versus State, (2020) 10 SCC 439, Supreme Court to make its point that ‘freedom of any kind is not absolute and it is subject to reasonable restrictions”. 

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