LXIV Additional City Civil & Sessions Judge, Bengaluru: Sri Rajeshwara, J., granted anticipatory bail to the accused as the investigation regarding offences alleged is under process

The facts of the case are such that on 9.5.2021, accused persons hatched a conspiracy to publish defamatory articles against Prime Minister of India, Chief Minister of Karnataka State by entering into an Agreement. In the said article, false allegations against Prime Minister of India, Chief Minister of Karnataka and other ministers was made in order to promote enmity between different groups, bodies, prejudicial to harm communal peace and harmony in the society. An FIR was registered under Sections153A, 504, 506, 153B, 505(2) of Penal Code, 1860 i.e. IPC. The instant petition was filed apprehending arrest under Section 438 of CrPC seeking relief of anticipatory relief.

Counsel for the petitioners Mr R. Jagannath submitted that he is innocent of the alleged offences and has been falsely implicated in this case. It was also submitted that alleged offences are not punishable with death or imprisonment for life and is a permanent resident of the address mentioned in the cause title of the petition.

Counsel for the respondents submitted that petitioner is required for investigation. In the event of granting anticipatory bail, there is every chance of absconding, tampering and allure prosecution witnesses, repetition of crime of similar nature.

The Court further observed that press, particularly daily newspapers have immense circulation among public. ‘Prajavani’ is also one of such Kannada daily newspaper, having vast circulation. It is the responsibility of the editor and concerned officers of the newspaper to ascertain whether publication of any news would disturb peace and harmony of the communities of the society. Further, it is the duty of the editor and publisher to verify the truth of the news, before the publication of the same in their newspaper. Any dereliction, negligence on the part of the editor, publisher of the newspaper would cause severe damage to the safety of the public, harmony among communities in the society. Public peace and tranquillity is the prime issue to be maintained in the civilized society.

The Court taking judicial notice that entire nation is facing medical emergency situation due to spread of the Covid-19 infection in an alarming manner and despite all attempts, it is not possible for the government to supply required medicine, oxygen and other life saving materials within time. In such a situation, publishing articles like the present one, could provoke relatives, supporters of the deceased who died due to Covid-19 infection.

The Court stating that as the investigation is under process and the petitioner has deep roots in the society and hence fleeing from justice is not possible held “anticipatory bail petition filed by petitioner/accused U/s.438 of Cr.P.C., is allowed.” [Dr C.S. Dwarakanath v. State of Karnataka, Crl. Misc. No. 4383 of 2021, decided on 20-05-2021]

Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported the brief.

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