The Allahabad High Court, on Wednesday, dismissed a Petition filed by controversial preacher Dr. Zakir Naik challenging summons issued against him by a lower court on allegations of him having hurt religious sentiments.
Justice Amar Singh Chauhan opined that the summoning order and the complaint did, in fact, reveal a prima facie case against him and observed, "From perusal of the summoning order and complaint, it cannot be said that prima facie, no case is made out. Most of the submissions made at the bar relate to the disputed questions of fact, which cannot be adjudicated upon by this Court under Section 482 Cr.P.C. Only in cases where the court finds that there has been failure of justice or misuse of judicial mechanism or procedure, sentence or order was not correct, this power may be exercised to prevent the abuse of process or miscarriage of justice."
Dr. Naik had challenged an order passed by the Judicial Magistrate X, Jhansi in April 2010, summoning him inter alia under Sections 121 (attempting to wage war against Government of India), 298 (uttering words to would the religious sentiments of others), and 502 (sale of printed material containing defamatory matter) of the Indian Penal Code.
The complaint against him pertained to a speech made by him on a television programme which was telecasted on Peace TV in January, 2006, alleging that it had hurt the religious sentiments of a particular community. The complainant had further impugned pamphlets published by Dr. Naik, alleging that they incited hatred and ill will amongst different communities.
Challenging the order, Dr. Naik had now asserted that his speech should be read as a whole and that the pamphlets were issued for the "betterment for the Muslim community and public in large as the same was the warm expression in a good faith with an intention to apprise the public at large regarding terrorism".
However, hearing his plea, the Court noted that the pamphlet and the speech did, in fact, propagate the message that "all non-Muslims are Kafirs and Muslims should be terrorist for others, who are Kafirs". Taking a stern view on those attempting to incite a particular community to terrorize others, it observed,
"No person or community can be permitted to act in a manner, which is against the established procedure of law and start acting like a law enforcing agency. In fact, a speech or pamphlet, which may incite any particular community or individual to act in a manner, which may strike terror, even on anti-social elements cannot be permitted, inasmuch as for dealing with anti-social elements and offender of law, the law enforcing agencies are existing for taking appropriate action against them.
Any kind of depiction by way of telecast or by way of print media, which may incite any person or community for doing such act, is not permissible under the established law or the procedure as laid down under law, should be deprecated and should be punished to the extent of commission of the offence under the relevant provisions of the penal code."
The Court then refused to quash the proceedings against him, and dismissed the Petition.