Orissa High Court: S. K. Panigrahi J. allowed the bail application. by imposing some stricter terms and conditions and made clear that any of the observations made shall not prejudicially affect the fair trial of the present case.
The petitioner is the National Chairman of Dharma Rakshyak Shri Dara Sena and is accused of uploading a message in a WhatsApp group urging people to join him on a mission to assault the former Chief Justice of India i.e. CJI with shoes when the Bench headed by the CJI refused to give permission for observance of the CAR FESTIVAL (Rath Yatra) in the year 2020 at Puri. He believed that the former CJI is solely responsible for halting the Rath Yatra and aggrieving Hindu sentiments and therefore portrayed the former CJI as a Naxalite and Christian Terrorist and also allegedly made provocative statement inciting hatred and communal disharmony among the people of the nation. He was booked for commission of offences punishable under Sections 153/153-A/153-B/295-A/504/505/506 of the Penal Code, 1860 i.e. IPC read with Section 66(F) of the Information Technology Act,2008 i.e. IT Act. The petitioner filed instant bail application.
The Court considered the submission made by the petitioner and relied on judgment Prahlad Singh Bhati v. NCT, Delhi (2001) 4 SCC 280 wherein it was observed
“8. The jurisdiction to grant bail has to be exercised on the basis of well-settled principles having regard to the circumstances of each case and not in an arbitrary manner. While granting the bail, the court has to keep in mind the nature of accusations, the nature of evidence in support thereof, the severity of the punishment which conviction will entail, the character, behaviour, means and standing of the accused, circumstances which are peculiar to the accused, reasonable possibility of securing the presence of the accused at the trial, reasonable apprehension of the witnesses being tampered with, the larger interests of the public or State and similar other considerations. It has also to be kept inmind that for the purposes of granting the bail the legislature has used the words “reasonable grounds for believing” instead of “the evidence” which means the court dealing with the grant of bail can only satisfy it (sic itself) as to whether there is a genuine case against the accused and that the prosecution will be able to produce prima facie evidence in support of the charge. It is not expected, at this stage, to have the evidence establishing the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.”
The Court thus held “this Court is inclined to allow the prayer of the petitioner.
It also held “Accordingly, the court in seisin over the matter will enlarge the petitioner on bail by imposing some stricter terms and conditions.”
[Mukesh Jain v. State of Odisha, BLAPL No. 3740 of 2021, decided on 06-07-2021]
Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.
Counsel for petitioner: Adv. J. Samantaray
Counsel for respondent: Adv. Mr. M.K. Mohanty