The Karnataka High Court has granted anticipatory bail to a 32-year old man who in April during the lockdown had posted a message on his social media account allegedly comparing coronavirus with holy Quran and thereby, insulted the holy Quran and caused hurt to the feelings of Muslim community.
Justice K Natarajan granted pre-arrest bail to Kusumadhara Kaniyoor @Kasumadhara H, on execution of a personal bond of Rs 25,000 with a surety for the likesum to the satisfaction of the Investigation Officer. Further he is directed to surrender himself before the Investigating Officer within fifteen days from the date of receipt of a certified copy of this order and to not indulge in any similar offences.
The Bellare police had registered a case against the accused based on a complaint filed by one Mahammed Saheer, under sections 153A and 505(2) of the Indian Penal Code. The accused had earlier approached the sessions court in Mangalore seeking anticipatory bail which was rejected. Following which he approached the High Court.
Advocate Sachin B.S appearing for the petitioner argued that petitioner is innocent and a false case has been registered against him, even though there is no ingredient to attract the offences under Section 153A and 505(2) of the IPC. It was also said that there is no element of 'mens rea' to show a prima-facie case to cause any enmity between different classes of the society. The petitioner is a public servant and without obtaining permission, the question of filing the complaint and taking cognizance does not arise.
Advocate Mahesh Shetty appearing for the state opposed the plea saying "The petitioner posted a message in his Facebook stating that holy Quran is dangerous to India than corona, which is punishable under Sections 153A and 505(2) of the IPC. From the date of registration of the complaint, the petitioner is absconding and if bail is granted, he may abscond from the case. Moreover, he is required for custodial interrogation.
The bench said "Learned High Court Government Pleader has not produced any material to show whether the police have obtained permission to lodge criminal prosecution against the petitioner. The sanction is required for taking cognizance by the Magistrate. However, by looking to the facts and circumstances of the case, the principles laid down by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Manzar Sayeed Khan's case and message posted by the petitioner, at this stage, it cannot be said that, there is prima-facie case made out against the petitioner for having committed any alleged offence, where it promotes the communal violence or tension between two groups of society."
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