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Delhi court denies bail plea to prime accused in Jantar Mantar anti-Muslim sloganeering case

While dismissing bail plea of Hindu Rakshak Dal president Pinky Chaudhary, the court said India is not a Taliban state and rule of law is its sacrosanct governing principle.

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New Delhi: A Delhi court has rejected the anticipatory bail plea of Pinky Chaudhary in the case relating to alleged inflammatory sloganeering at Jantar Mantar stating that they are not a Taliban state and the rule of law is the sacrosanct governing principle in our plural and multi-cultural society.

Additional Sessions Judge Anil Antil while dismissing anticipatory bail plea of Bhupinder Tomar alias Pinky Chaudhary, said, “We are not a Taliban State. Rule of law is the sacrosanct governing principle in our plural and multi-cultural society. While the whole of India is celebrating Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav, there are some minds still chained with intolerant and self-centric, beliefs.”

The Court also observed that the complicity of accused Pinky Chaudhary, president of Hindu Rakshak Dal, in the alleged case is prima facie apparent from the material placed before it; accusations are serious and the offence alleged is severe in nature. The Court said, “…History is not immune where such incidents have flared communal tensions leading to riots and causing loss to life and property of general public.”

The Court noted that investigation in the case is in the initial stage and some of the accused are absconding and evading process of law.

“Thus, in light of my above discussion, taking note of the nature of accusations, severity of the of case and the conduct of the applicant/accused, and additionally, the fact that investigation is at preliminary stage; custodial interrogation shall serve the best interest of justice to unearth the entire conspiracy and the persons involved therein, I am not inclined to grant him pre-arrest protection,” the Court said.

The Court also noted that it was evident from the video in question played before the court during the proceedings, and the transcript submitted thereto, that the said clip, depicting the interview of the applicant is impregnated with high octane communal barbs; laced with inflammatory, insulting and threatening gestures, ex-facie is indicative of the calculative design on the part of the applicant to promote hatred and ill will amongst other sections of the community.

However, the Court also noted that there is no gainsaying that right to freedom of speech is a fundamental right, one of the most cherished natural rights enshrined in the Constitution under Article 19(1)(a).

But, the Court also pointed out that freedom of speech is not absolute and said, “In same breath, I must state that ‘IT’ (freedom of speech) is not an unfettered right. It (freedom of speech) is not absolute. Nor can it be, extended to transgress upon fundamental right of other people; nor can it be expanded to the acts pre-judicial to maintenance of peace; ‘harmony and public’ order; nor can it be permitted to invade and erode the secular fabric of our society,” the Court said.

“Additionally, the applicant is President of Hindu Raksha Dal. Taking note of the tone and tenure of a speech and the threatening words used therein via the alleged interview, and analyzed in the back drop of his stature and influence exerted, there is strong possibility, if released on bail, at this stage, the applicant/accused shall hamper the investigation, and shall influence and /or threaten the witnesses,” the Court said.

On August 9, a First Information Report had been booked against an unknown group of people in connection with the alleged “raising inciting slogans” at Jantar Mantar.

It was alleged by police that Ashwini Upadhyay had called on a march “Colonial Laws and Make Uniform Laws” on Sunday where the alleged “objectionable slogans” were raised.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) of Delhi, Deepak Yadav had said, “People who had gathered at Jantar Mantar had no permission. It has come to our due notice that some people raised inciting and objectionable slogans as well. We have also received a video and have registered FIR in the case.”

Delhi Police on August 10 has arrested six people- Ashwani Upadhyay, Vinod Sharma, Deepak Singh, Vineet Bajpai, Preet Singh, Deepak Kumar in connection with inflammatory sloganeering near Jantar Mantar recently. On August 11, advocate Ashwani Upadhyay was released on bail.

Also read: Jantar Mantar ‘anti-Muslim’ event was planned for 2020, Covid delayed it: Hindu Army chief


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