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'Interrogation Not Necessary': Kerala HC Grants Pre-Arrest Bail To Christian Preacher Accused Of Promoting Religious Enmity

Sparsh Upadhyay
23 Sep 2020 2:15 PM GMT
Interrogation Not Necessary: Kerala HC Grants Pre-Arrest Bail To Christian Preacher Accused Of Promoting Religious Enmity
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The Kerala High Court on 22nd September (Tuesday) granted anticipatory bail to Christian preacher who has been accused of promoting religious enmity.The Single Bench of Justice Ashok Menon was hearing the pre-arrest bail plea of an applicant, who has been arrayed as an accused in Crime No.582/2020 of Ernakulam Central Police Station for having allegedly committed offences punishable under...

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The Kerala High Court on 22nd September (Tuesday) granted anticipatory bail to Christian preacher who has been accused of promoting religious enmity.

The Single Bench of Justice Ashok Menon was hearing the pre-arrest bail plea of an applicant, who has been arrayed as an accused in Crime No.582/2020 of Ernakulam Central Police Station for having allegedly committed offences punishable under Section 153A of the IPC.

Prosecution's Case

The prosecution case, in brief, was that the applicant had been propagating his religious thoughts through the YouTube channel and while speaking in favour of Christianity, he has been promoting enmity between different groups on the ground of Religion.

It was alleged that he has been criticizing the preachers of Islam in such a manner that he was spreading disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between persons belonging to Islam and Christianity and thus committed an offence punishable under Section 153A IPC.

Applicant's Submissions

The applicant stated before the Court that he has no ill-will and all his arguments with the other religious leaders are based on ideologies and that he has been exercising his right within the Constitutional framer and the freedom of speech as guaranteed by the Constitution.

Further, he argued that his debates in the YouTube Channel are before the public and there was no attempt on his part to create hatred between persons belonging to Christianity or Islam.

Therefore, he contended that his custodial interrogation may not be required and he may be released on anticipatory bail.

Court's Analysis and Decision

While going through the various materials and the links provided by the applicant, the Court was of the opinion that the applicant has been propagating Christian Religion.

True, the Court observed, he has made several debates in comparison of the Religion with Islam and has also contradicted the propagators of Islamic Religion.

However, the Court did not go into the details of the complicity of the applicant for an offence punishable under Section 153A IPC.

The Court said,

"It would suffice to say that custodial interrogation of the applicant may not be necessary. All his debates and statements are well preserved in the form of YouTube uploads, and there is nothing, apart from that to be ascertained by the investigating officers."

Hence, the Court observed, the applicant is entitled to a pre-arrest bail, particularly, considering the present pandemic situation.

In the result, the Bail Application was allowed and the applicant was directed to surrender before the investigating officer within three weeks.

After interrogation, the Court directed, in the event of his being arrested, he shall be released on bail on the execution of bond for Rs.50,000/- (Rupees fifty thousand only) with two solvent sureties, each for the like amount to the satisfaction of the investigating officer, and on the following further conditions:

1- He shall appear before the investigating officer as and when called for and co-operate with the investigation.

2- He shall not tamper with evidence or intimidate or influence the witnesses.

3- He shall not get involved in any similar offence during the currency of the bail. In case of breach of any of the above bail conditions, the prosecution is at liberty to approach the jurisdictional court for cancellation of the bail

Click Here To Download Order

[Read Order]




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