‘Right To Be Funny Can Be Mined In Article 19(1)(a)’ : Madras High Court Quashes FIR Over Humorous Facebook Post
[21 December 2021]
While quashing an FIR registered against an office-bearer of CPI (ML) who uploaded vacation pictures with the caption ‘Trip to Sirumalai for shooting practice’, the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court went on to make some interesting observations about the ‘duty to laugh’ and the ‘right to be funny’. Justice G.R Swaminathan quashed the FIR against the 62-year-old accused while underscoring that the case registered by Vadipatty Police, booking the latter for ‘making preparations to wage war against the State’, is ‘absurd and an abuse of legal process’. Justice GR Swaminathan started the judgment by observing : “Jug Suraiya, Bachi Karkaria, E.P.Unny and G.Sampath…if any satirist or cartoonist had authored this judgement, they would have proposed a momentous amendment to the Constitution of India to incorporate sub-clause (l) in Article 51-A…. To this, the hypothetical author would have added one more fundamental duty – duty to laugh.” The Court went on to observe that the correlative right to be funny can be “mined in Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution of India”.