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What Do You Achieve From Custodial Interrogation? : Kerala High Court To Prosecution In Bail Plea Moved By PC George In Hate Speech Case

Hannah M Varghese
26 May 2022 8:55 AM GMT
What Do You Achieve From Custodial Interrogation? : Kerala High Court To Prosecution In Bail Plea Moved By PC George In Hate Speech Case

The Kerala High Court on Thursday asked the prosecution what it intends to achieve from custodial interrogation while dealing with the plea moved for anticipatory bail by senior political leader PC George in a hate-speech case over alleged statements against Muslims.

Justice Gopinath P. asked the DGP to get instructions in the matter and posted the matter tomorrow at 1:45 pm along with the plea for regular bail.

"I will give you a reasonable time to respond, I don't want to decide the case before hearing you. But I want to know, what do you intend to achieve by custodial interrogation in this kind of case?"

On Monday, the Court had granted interim anticipatory bail to the former MLA considering the fact that the offences under Sections 153A and 295A of IPC 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 appeared for the petitioner and DGP TA Saji for the prosecution.

The former MLA was implicated as an accused in a suo motu case before the Palarivattom Police Station. 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 last week. 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 but this was cancelled yesterday for violating his bail conditions.

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 for 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

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