Kerala HC Refuses Bail To Accused Involved In Violent Protests Against Women Entry In Sabarimala [Read Order]
The High Court of Kerala today dismissed the bail application of a person accused of indulging in rioting and vandalism during protests against women entry in Sabarimala temple following the judgment of the Supreme Court. While dismissing the bail application, Justice Sunil Thomas observed that there was prima facie material to connect the accused to the crime.
The accused was Govind Madhusoodhanan, a legal practitioner. The allegation was that on October 17, when the temple was opened for puja, the accused formed and led an unlawful assembly and resorted to rioting and criminal assault, and destructed vehicles of police and KSRTC. On these allegations, FIR was registered against him for offences under Sections 143, 147, 148,188,333,353,283,427 of IPC and Section 3(2)(e) of the Prevention of Destruction of Public Properties Act.
The petitioner denied the allegations and stated that he had returned from Nilakkal at 2PM on that day and was not present at the scene of crime. He contended that he was wrongly implicated on mistaken identity.
The Public Prosecutor submitted that the Government of India had supplied confidential report regarding possibility of violence by miscreants in and around Nilakkal and Pampa and that security arrangements were accordingly beefed up. It was submitted that the accused had led a violent mob and had attacked police officers and media persons. It was stated that around thousand persons shouted at devotees and blocked vehicles. When police tried to dissuade them, the mob responded by pelting stones, fire wood and sticks. From the photos and videos taken by the departmental photographer, several miscreants were identified.
The Court noted that the prosecution had produced photographs showing the involvement of accused in violence. Also, call data records contradicted the version of the accused that he had returned from Nilakkal by 2 PM, as his presence within Nilakkal mobile tower limits was traced even after 5 PM. Several witnesses had identified the accused and attributed specific overt acts of violence to him. The Court also made specific reference to the gravity of violence.
“It is seen that two police buses, one police car, four police vehicles, 12 KSRTC buses, 3 media vehicles and 3 cameras were damaged. 13 police personals were injured. There was no report of any person among the mob being injured. Total value of the public property damaged was around Rs.16,78,500/- and the private property which includes camera, private vehicles and media vehicles was quantified at Rs/15,50,5000″, observed the judgment.
Observing that there was possibility of repetition of offence by the accused, bail application was dismissed.