Allahabad HC rejects anticipatory bail application of PFI member accused of causing disharmony over foundation laying ceremony of Ram temple

THE Allahabad High Court Monday rejected the anticipatory bail of a man accused of spreading propaganda about the foundation laying ceremony of temple at Ayodhya and trying to promote a feeling of enmity, hatred and ill-will between two religious communities.

A single-judge bench of Justice CD Singh said “the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression in a secular state is not an absolute license to injure and hurt the religious feelings and faiths and beliefs of fellow citizens”.

“A person who takes the risk of dissemination of blasphemous messages is not entitled to get the discretion of the court exercised in his favour”, Justice Singh said.

The high court was ruling on a bail plea filed by accused Mohammad Nadeem who is facing charges under Section 153A ( Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony.) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) Police Station Kursi, District Barabanki.

According to the FIR, Nadeem, an active member of Popular Front of India  (PFI) was propagating that since the foundation laying ceremony of the temple at Ayodhya was being done on the site of the Babri Masjid, every Muslim had to come forward to protect the mosque.

Also Read: Patricia Mukhim’s FB post is not hate speech, says SC, quashes FIR; free speech must not be stifled by implicating in criminal cases

It was alleged in the FIR that because of this “propaganda”, there was a probability of communal tension between two communities.

While considering the FIR, the court found that the comments made by the accused with regard to one religion or community were capable of inciting one community or group against others. “Therefore, prima facie, an offence punishable under Section 153A IPC is attracted to the facts of the case,” the court held.

Nadeem, however, denied these allegations and termed the case against him as fabricated. He said the FIR was nothing but an off-shoot to the protest as well as the petition filed by the applicant against his illegal detention by the police personnel of Police Station Kursi, Barabanki.

“The FIR is nothing but an attempt to cover up the illegality committed by wrongful and unauthorized detention in violation of fundamental right to life and liberty of the applicant by the police personnel,” Nadeem said.

Earlier the Additional Sessions Judge rejected the bail plea of the accused.

Read Order

The Leaflet