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Kerala High Court Grants Bail To 31 Persons Accused Of Raising Provocative Slogans During PFI Rally

Athira Prasad
6 July 2022 5:26 AM GMT
Kerala High Court Grants Bail To 31 Persons Accused Of Raising Provocative Slogans During PFI Rally

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday granted bail to 31 accused arrested for allegedly raising provocative slogans to destroy communal harmony and criminally intimidating large sections of the society by threatening to annihilate certain groups in a recent rally conducted by the Popular Front of India (PFI) in Alappuzha.

Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas, while allowing the bail application, observed that the investigation was almost complete and that they had been in detention for over a month:

"All the petitioners are continuing in detention at least for more than 30 days. The investigation, as far as petitioners are concerned, is almost complete. The continued detention of the petitioners will not serve any further purpose, despite two accused remaining at large."

Advocates K.S Madhusoodanan, Sunny Mathew and Renjith B Marar appeared for the petitioners and submitted that all the petitioners were innocent of the crime and that they had been arrested on different dates between 24 May to 4 June. It was argued that their continued detention is not warranted. It was also pointed out that the slogans are being misinterpreted for ulterior purposes and no offence is made out.

However, Public Prosecutor Advocate K.A Noushad opposed the plea submitting that the accused attempted to disrupt the harmony that prevails in the State. He added that if such slogans are permitted to be shouted during rallies, the same can have serious repercussions. Furthermore, the Prosecutor argued that the investigation was still ongoing and two accused were yet to be arrested, thereby releasing the petitioners on bail would prejudice the investigation.

The Court agreed that the allegations were serious.

"The allegations against the petitioners are serious in nature. A minor boy is also alleged to have been used for shouting the provocative slogans."

Nevertheless, the Judge opined that the petitioners can be granted bail considering that they have spent over 30 days in detention, and as far as the petitioners are concerned, the investigation was almost complete. Accordingly, the bail applications were allowed.

While dealing with a plea seeking prohibition of public conferences, marches, mass drills, and motorcycle rallies in the PFI rally in the Alappuzha district, a Single Judge had observed that rally organisers were equally responsible if any controversial remarks/slogans are made during the rally disrupting the peace of the society.

However, the rally had sparked controversy in the State after the video of a minor boy seated on the shoulders of another person and prompting apparently provocative slogans against other religions went viral on social media. This video had garnered much attention and had drawn widespread condemnation.

Another bench of the Court had previously expressed its concerns over children being used in political and religious rallies and made to raise provocative slogans while commenting on the incident. Earlier, yet another bench had also observed that PFI and SDPI are extremist organizations, though not banned.

Case Title: Ansar Najeeb & Ors v. State of Kerala

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Ker) 325

Click Here To Read/Download The Order

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