17 Jan 2023 1:59 PM GMT
The Allahabad High Court last week denied anticipatory bail to a man accused of luring 90 Hindus to convert to Christianity by putting them under undue influence, coercion by playing fraud, and promise of easy money, etc. Stressing that anticipatory bail is an extraordinary remedy to be exercised in suitable cases only, the bench of Justice Jyotsna Sharma denied the relief as it did...
The Allahabad High Court last week denied anticipatory bail to a man accused of luring 90 Hindus to convert to Christianity by putting them under undue influence, coercion by playing fraud, and promise of easy money, etc.
Stressing that anticipatory bail is an extraordinary remedy to be exercised in suitable cases only, the bench of Justice Jyotsna Sharma denied the relief as it did not find any good ground to grant anticipatory bail to the accused.
The bench was essentially dealing with the anticipatory bail plea of one Bhanu Pratap Singh, booked under sections 153A, 506, 420, 467, 468, 471 I.P.C. and sections- 3/5(1) of Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020.
The case in brief
As per the prosecution case, an F.I.R. was lodged with the allegations that about 90 persons of Hindu religion have been congregated at a Church in Fatehpur for the purpose of their conversion to Christianity.
On receiving the information, the Government officers raided the plea and interrogated the pastor Vijay Massiah, who disclosed that the process for conversion was going on for the last 34 days and that this process shall be completed within 40 days.
Allegedly, the pastor also informed that they have been trying to convert even patients admitted to the Mission Hospital and the employees play an active role in the same.
The Government officers found 35 persons including the accused/applicant (named in the F.I.R.) and 20 unknown persons as having been involved in this conversion.
The accused moved the High Court arguing that he was not involved in the act and in fact, he was not present at the spot and that he has been falsely implicated in this case for ulterior motives.
It was further contended that some of the persons named in the F.I.R. viz. Madhuri Panna and Vijay Kumar Samson have been granted anticipatory bail. Hence, on the basis of parity, his application for anticipatory bail deserves to be allowed.
On the other hand, the counsel for the state contended that there was a bigger conspiracy hatched by the applicant and his associates with wider ramifications; they were acting in an organized manner for mass conversion.
It was further submitted that this is not a case where an individual was driven by his conscience to convert to a different faith but the accused persons in tandem with each other systematically went on to influence the persons who usually came in their contact for the purpose medical treatment or otherwise and their poor socio-economic condition was exploited to lure them into participating in mass conversion.
Against this backdrop, taking into account the testimonies of the eye-witnesses, and public witnesses, supporting the prosecution’s case, the Court did not find it to be a fit case to extend the relief of anticipatory bail.
Consequently, the anticipatory bail plea was rejected.
Advocate Rajkumar Verma appeared for the bail applicant
Case title - Bhanu Pratap Singh vs. State Of U.P. And 2 Others [CRIMINAL MISC ANTICIPATORY BAIL APPLICATION U/S 438 CR.P.C. No. - 12343 of 2022]
Case Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (AB) 22
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