The Uttarakhand High Court refused to quash criminal proceedings under Section 125 of the Representation of the People Act, against Rajendra Singh Bhandari, who was Badrinath Assembly Constituency Candidate of Indian National Congress Party to the Legislative Assembly of Uttarakhand in 2012.
The allegation against him is that, while contesting the said election, the present applicant had printed a picture (photo) of Lord Badrinath in his hand bills as well as pamphlets. FIR was lodged against him on the ground that he tried to influence the voters and used the religious feelings of local people.
The use of expression "promotes or attempts to promote" in Section 125 of the Act, shows that there has to be mens rea on the part of the accused to commit the offence of promoting disharmony amongst different religions under Section 125, whereas, the case of the applicant is that this matter is launched by the political opponents, Justice Alok Kumar Verma observed while considering his petition under Section 482 CrPC seeking to quash proceedings against him
The court also said that the allegations against the accused are required to be tested only at the time of trial and that it cannot hold a parallel trial in an application under Section 482 of the Code. While dismissing the petition, the judge further observed:
It is the fundamental duty of every citizen to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood and fraternity amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities. For fair and peaceful election, during the election campaign, party or candidate should not indulge in any activity which may create mutual hatred or cause tension between different classes of the citizens of India on ground of religion, race, caste, community or language.
Case name: Rajendra Singh Bhandari vs State Of UttarakhandCase no.: Criminal Misc. Application No.1480 of 2014Coram: Justice Alok Kumar Verma Counsel: Adv Pankaj Purohit , Deputy AG S.S. Adhikari
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