The court made these observations while denying bail to actor and BJP State Secretary S Ve Shekher.

S Ve Shekar case Forwarding a message is equal to endorsing it says HC
news Law Friday, May 11, 2018 - 10:51

In an important judgement on Thursday, the Madras High Court observed, “Forwarding a message is equal to accepting the message and endorsing the message.”

The court made the observation while dismissing a petition by actor and BJP State Secretary S Ve Shekher, two weeks after he sought anticipatory bail in connection with a derogatory post about women journalists shared on his social media acount.

He had shared a post on his Facebook page on April 19 which alleged that women journalists 'sleep around to get top posts'.

The post titled 'Madurai University, Governor and virgin woman’s cheeks' came after a female correspondent of an English magazine accused the Governor of Tamil Nadu, Banwarilal Purohit, of inappropriate behaviour.

The journalist lodged a complaint against Shekher with the Central Crime Branch on April 20.

S Ve Shekher had apologised soon after and said that he put up the post on his timeline without actually reading.

“Yesterday, my face book, a message, without reading the content, by mistake forwarded by me FROM THIRUMALAI Sa Was unintentional (sic),” read a statement issued by S Ve Shekher.

He says in a statement that he removed the post after his friend pointed out that it was abusive. “When it was pointed out by a friend of mine that the content was abusive, it was removed immediately. I do not endorse the views expressed in it. I come from a family that respects women and journalists,” said Shekher in his statement.

However, the Madras High Court did not agree with his claims. Emphasising the social responsibility that celebrities carried, it said, “What is said is important, but who has said it, is very important in a society because people respect others for their social status. When a celebrity-like person forwards messages like this, the common public will start believing that these types of things are going on. This sends a wrong message to society at a time when we are talking about women empowerment.”

Further, the court stressed, “The language and the words used are not indirect but direct, abusive, obscene and foul, which is not expected from a person of this calibre and age who claims to be a literate with a lot of credential, with a lot of followers. Instead of being a role model to his followers, he sets a wrong precedent. Daily, we see young emotional boys arrested for doing these types of activities in social media. Law is the same to everyone and we should not lose faith in the judiciary. Mistakes and crimes are not same. Only children can make mistakes which can be pardoned. If the same is done by elderly people, it becomes an offence.”

Slamming the derogatory portrayal of women in his Facebook post, the court asked, “If sharing a bed is the only way to come up in life, then does it include all women who are holding high posts now?”

Slamming the actor for the post, the court said, “Instead of wiping out the wrong impression about working women among the public, these words create fear and anxiety among the people who want to pursue a career. After seeing these words from a person who is popular and has a lot of connections with media people for long, the public will look at every working woman with a suspicious eye. He has only regretted for forwarding but he has not denied what is said in the message. As claimed by him, what awareness this message creates in the public?”

The court also observed that typing makes for a document, unlike talking. “Talking is different from typing. Typing becomes a document, one cannot go back saying I have not done it. These messages are deleted and not erased. People should not go with a feeling that we can air and anything and get away with an apology. Women should be encouraged to come up in life because those words are not just on a single person but against a gender.”

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