The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday granted bail to a man arrested over an alleged inappropriate comment against Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji and his father which was offensive to the followers of the Sikh Religion.
The Bench of Justice Harinder Singh Sidhu granted bail to one Vasu Syal as it noted that he is under custody since November 2021 and the investigation in the case is complete and challan has been filed.
The Court also noted that the offences alleged are punishable with imprisonment of upto three years and there is no apprehension that the petitioner may evade or otherwise interfere with the trial.
Essentially, an FIR in the matter was lodged on the complaint of one Parvinder Singh alleging that one Anil Arora runs a page on Facebook wherein he has been uploading posts and messages on social and religious issues which instigates and causes division in Hindu-Sikh unity.
It was further alleged that an audio cutting from an application 'Club House' had gone viral wherein, Anil Arora is talking to three-four persons and using inappropriate terminology against Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji and his father.
It was his allegation that because of the viral video and the comments made therein, there was resentment amongst the members of the Sikh Community.
The name of the bail applicant herein (Vasy Syal) surfaced on the supplementary statement of the complainant and he was arrested on 13.11.2021. After the completion of the investigation, a challan was filed for offences under Sections 295- A, 153-A/ 120-B and Section 67 of the Information Technology Act against the bail applicant.
It was argued by his counsel that the ingredients of offences under Section 153A and 295A are not satisfied in this case and that there was no evidence to suggest that the offensive words were uttered with any intent to cause or promote disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will on the grounds of religion.
Lastly, it was contended that the conversation can only be characterized as a foolish utterance in extremely bad taste.
Noting that the petitioner is in custody since November 13, 2021, the investigation in the case is complete and a challan has been filed and the offences alleged are punishable with imprisonment upto three years, the Court granted him bail on his furnishing bail/surety bonds to the satisfaction of the Trial Court/Duty Magistrate concerned.
Case title - Vasu Syal v. State of Punjab
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (PH) 118