21 Sep 2023 2:04 PM GMT
The Allahabad High Court recently granted bail to 3 women who were arrested in August this year on the allegations of condemning and criticising Hindu religion and inciting people to convert to Christianity. The bench of Justice Vikram D. Chauhan passed the order noting that the state counsel failed to show any material or circumstances that the accused/applicants are not entitled to...
The Allahabad High Court recently granted bail to 3 women who were arrested in August this year on the allegations of condemning and criticising Hindu religion and inciting people to convert to Christianity.
The bench of Justice Vikram D. Chauhan passed the order noting that the state counsel failed to show any material or circumstances that the accused/applicants are not entitled to bail in the larger interests of the public or State.
Essentially, the FIR lodged in the case alleged that the informant in the case got to know that Anita Devi (accused no. 1) had been organising a meeting of 30-35 people wherein she used to incite people to convert to Christianity and used to say bad things about the Hindu religion.
It was further alleged that when the informant objected to the utterances made by the accused against the Hindu religion, he was offered money to convert himself to Christianity and when he denied doing so, he was abused.
Following the registration of the FIR under Sections 504, 505 (2), 506 I.P.C. and Section 3/5(1) of U.P. Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2021, the accused Anita Devi and another were arrested.
Pursuant to their arrest, they moved the High Court, seeking bail by contending that during the investigation in the case, no person had been found converted nor there were any specific details as to what was said by the applicants against another religion.
It was further argued by the counsel for the applicants that there is freedom to practice religion in the country which is constitutionally permitted.
On the other hand, the AGA for the state opposed the prayer for bail, however, he did not dispute the fact that there were no details of the words uttered by the applicants with respect to another religion nor there was any direct evidence found during the investigation with regard to any forced conversion.
Noting that the AGA for the State could not apprise the Court about any fact or circumstances to indicate the criminal history or antecedents of the applicants which would disentitle the applicants for Bail, the Court stressed that the principle that Bail is a rule and Jail is an exception.
Further, the Court also observed that no material particulars or circumstances had been produced to suggest that the applicants would flee from justice or thwart the course of justice or create other troubles in the shape of repeating offences or intimidating witnesses.
Consequently, considering the facts and circumstances of the case, nature of offence, evidence, the complicity of the accused, submissions of counsel for the parties and without expressing any opinion on the merits of the case, the Court was of the view that the applicants have made out a case for bail.
Accordingly, the bail application was allowed.
Case title - Anita Devi And Another vs. State of U.P [CRIMINAL MISC. BAIL APPLICATION No. - 39963 of 2023]
Case citation: 2023 LiveLaw (AB) 337
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