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BREAKING| Kerala High Court Grants Interim Anticipatory Bail To Politician PC George In Hate Speech Case

Hannah M Varghese
23 May 2022 10:38 AM GMT
Kerala Local Bodies Election
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P C George MLA

The Kerala High Court on Monday granted interim anticipatory bail to senior political leader PC George in a hate-speech case over alleged statements against Muslims.

A single bench of Justice P Gopinath passed the order, considering the fact that the offences under Section 153A and 295A of the Indian Penal Code are punishable with less than 3 years imprisonment, and that George has been an MLA for over 30 years and is unlikely to abscond.

Senior Advocate P Vijayabhanu, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that George is aged over 70 years and has been granted bail by the Magistrate in Thiruvananthapuram in an earlier case. The present case is related to subsequent statements made by him in Ernakulam District.

The State opposed the grant of any form of interim protection in the case pointing out that he had recently been released on bail for another hate speech with a condition that he would not engage in any other controversial remarks.

The petitioner has been directed not to make any statements to the public or the media till Thursday. The matter will be taken up on Thursday till when George will be on interim bail.

On Saturday, the Sessions Court had rejected him anticipatory bail.

The former MLA was implicated as an accused in a suo motu case before the Palarivattom Police Station for offences under Sections 153(A) and 295 (A) of the IPC.

The prosecution case was that he delivered an offensive speech at the closing ceremony of an event at a temple in Ernakulam, making statements that allegedly promoted enmity between different religions. It has been further alleged that this speech was made deliberately and maliciously with an intent to outrage the religious beliefs of the Muslim community. In this speech, which was aired on various platforms, George spoke about the 'growing menace of Islamic Jihad in Kerala', including 'love jihad'.

Although he had moved the Sessions Court seeking pre-arrest bail in the matter, the same was dismissed this Saturday. Therefore, he approached the High Court arguing that the Sessions Court failed to evaluate the factual and legal intricacies involved in the case.

This is the second such case registered against George within a span of ten days for delivering speeches on communal lines. He had secured bail in the first case earlier.

In the application moved through Advocates Geo Paul and Sruthy N. Bhat, George had alleged that the alleged offences would not be attracted at any stretch of imagination in this case.

"The prosecution resorted to a pick-and-choose game and highlighted certain stray sentences from a 40-minute long speech and unilaterally declared it as offensive which is not justifiable," reads the plea.

He claimed that he was merely expressing his anxiety over a negligible percentage of people involved in anti-national and terrorist activities. George argued that these were expressions of 'a patriot who only wanted the integrity of the nation to be kept intact and to highlight the need of corrective measures'.

The politician also mentioned that he had mentioned repeatedly during the speech that he was not speaking against the entire Muslim community but against a minority who have become extremists. He added that most of the observations were based on authentic statistics.

The application for pre-arrest also submitted that the video footage of the said speech had already been seized and that custodial interrogation was not necessary in this case. It was also argued that the petitioner was ready to cooperate with the police and undergo any condition imposed by the Court while pointing out that the investigation in the case was almost over.

Case Title: P.C. George v. State of Kerala

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Ker) 237

Click Here To Read/Download The Order

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