If those who make allegations on YouTube before elections are put behind bars, how many will be jailed? Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court on Monday restored the bail granted to YouTuber ‘Sattai’ Durai Murugan, accused of making a derogatory speech against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin in 2021.

A Bench of Justice Abhay S Oka and Justice Ujjal Bhuyan remarked,

“If before elections we start putting behind bars everyone who makes allegations on YouTube, imagine how many will be jailed? And who decides what is scandalous? Look at the bigger picture.”

Justice Abhay S Oka and Justice Ujjal Bhuyan
The Court said that Murugan did not misuse his liberty by protesting and expressing his views.

“Leave granted. By impugned order, benefit of bail granted to appellant was cancelled. This Court continued interim bail earlier; he continues to be on bail for 2.5 years…All the same, we do not find grounds to cancel bail. We thus quash the High Court order cancelling bail, and restore the earlier order granting bail. Needless to say, cancellation of bail can be applied for if deemed fit,” the order stated.

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi appeared for State of Tamil Nadu.

The prosecution had alleged that Murugan and other members of the Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK) party gathered in violation of COVID-19 norms after they were denied permission to stage a protest.

During this gathering, Murugan allegedly made derogatory remarks with an intention to breach public peace and tranquillity.

The complainant, a member of the DMK, saw the speech of the petitioner and another on a YouTube Channel called Ravana, in which CM Stalin was mocked.

After the police registered a case on the basis of this complaint, Murugan was arrested in October 2021.

The Madras High Court in November 2021 had granted bail to Murugan. Later, a Division Bench of High Court had cancelled the bail. However, in 2022, the Supreme Court had granted interim bail to Murugan and he has been out on bail since then.

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