NEW DELHI, January 22, 2015

Updated: January 22, 2015 15:10 IST

Krishnadas Rajagopal

The Hindu

In a fillip to free speech on social media, the Supreme Court on Wednesday quashed FIRs registered by the Bengaluru Traffic Police against a couple for posting “adverse” comments on its Facebook page.

A Bench of Justices V. Gopala Gowda and R. Banumathi said the couple were well within their rights to air their grievances on a public forum like Facebook. “The page created by the traffic police on Facebook was a forum for the public to put forth their grievances. In our considered view, the appellants might have posted the comment online under the bona fide belief that it was within the permissible limits,” the 10-page judgment observed.

The couple’s car had hit an autorickshaw, resulting in injuries to a passenger. They paid due compensation to the injured person and took care of the hospital charges. But Ms. Jawa, who drove the car, was summoned to the Pulakeshi Nagar Traffic Police Station, Bengaluru city, where the police allegedly misbehaved with her .

The couple vented their anger on the police’s Facebook page. The police reacted by lodging a criminal complaint against the couple.