Uttaranchal High Court: Ravindra Maithani, J., rejected a bail application which was filed by the applicant who was in judicial custody under Sections 153A, 298 Penal code, 1860.

FIR stated that a Dharm Sansad was organized in Haridwar which resolved to wage a war against a particular religion; objectionable words close. The petitioner had released a video message abusing a particular religion, Prophet and made utterances to wage a war against a particular religion.

Senior Counsel appearing for the applicant submitted that these offences were a punishable maximum of three years of imprisonment and triable by the Magistrate.

Counsel for the State had submitted that the applicant provoked masses in general to take up arms against a particular religion, and promoted enmity between different religions. It was further brought into notice that the applicant had criminal history of 34 cases.

The Court stated that bail balances individual liberty with social interest and that right to life and liberty were illuminated rights in our constitution but Court was of the view that there are various factors, which are taken into consideration, while considering the bail application.

The Court refrained to produce the transcripts which were filed by the State because there were huge derogatory remarks against a particular religion; against Prophet. The Court was of the view that the Prophet had been abused; it intended to wound the religious feelings of persons belonging to a particular religion; it intended to wage war. It promoted enmity. It was a hate speech.

The Court rejected the bail application holding that Right to freedom, as granted under the Constitution is not an absolute right. It has limitations. Right to freedom of speech and expression is subject to the restriction as given under Article 19(2) of the Constitution relying on the excerpt by Dr B.R. Ambedkar in the Constituent Assembly Debate of 04-11-1948.

The Court also relied on the Supreme Court judgment in Pravasi Bhalai Sangathan v. Union of India, (2014) 11 SCC 477 which discussed the far reaching effect of hate speech. Court finally was of the view that this was not a fit case for bail.[Jitendra Narayan Tyagi v. State of Uttarakhand, 2022 SCC OnLine Utt 188, decided on 08-03-2022]

Mr Rakesh Thaplyal, Senior Advocate assisted by Mr Lalit Sharma, Advocate for the applicant.

Mr Pratiroop Pandey, AGA for the State.

Mr Pranav Singh, Advocate for the informant.

Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

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