14 July 2023 12:08 PM GMT
Shajan Skariah, Editor of Marunadan Malayali has moved an anticipatory bail plea before the Kerala High Court in case alleging that he interacted with a priest through his YouTube channel with dishonest intention to insult and humiliate the priest among other religions.The matter pertains to a conversation between Skariah and a priest that was telecast through his YouTube Channel on January...
Shajan Skariah, Editor of Marunadan Malayali has moved an anticipatory bail plea before the Kerala High Court in case alleging that he interacted with a priest through his YouTube channel with dishonest intention to insult and humiliate the priest among other religions.
The matter pertains to a conversation between Skariah and a priest that was telecast through his YouTube Channel on January 4, 2023.
A crime was registered by the Police on the complaint made by a person alleging that Skariah committed offences punishable under Sections 153A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence), 295A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), and 505 (Statements conducing to public mischief) of IPC.
Skariah says the crime was registered by the police without ascertaining as to whether the allegations would constitute the offence. He claims that he never intended to insult any religion, and added that the present case was registered at the instance of a prominent CPI(M) leader, at a time when he is involved and 'hunted by the police' in connection with another crime.
He also avers that there is a non-obstante clause in Section 196 CrPC which prevents the Court from taking cognizance (Prosecution for offences against the State and for criminal conspiracy to commit such offence) of the alleged offences.
"The petitioner is strongly apprehending that there is a larger conspiracy to trap the petitioner in non-bailable offences to save the face of the prosecuting agency. Several top leaders of the ruling party are interfering in the matter so as to silence the petitioner from exposing the truth before the public," the plea further states.
The High Court had, on June 30, 2023, dismissed the appeal filed by Skariah against the rejection of anticipatory bail by Special Court in a case against him for allegedly broadcasting derogatory news item against MLA Sreenijin. On appeal, the Supreme Court however, granted him interim protection from arrest. The CJI observed therein that, "Such comments may be defamatory, but not offences under SC/ST Act. We totally with you agree that these statements are in bad taste, we disapprove of his statement. But, in criminal law you have to see the matter strictly because someone's liberty is at stake".
The present anticipatory bail plea has been moved through Advocates S. Rajeev, V. Vinay, M.S. Aneer, Sarath K.P., Prerith Philip Joseph, and Anil Kumar C.R.
Case Title: Shajan Scariya v. State of Kerala & Anr.