A Delhi court on August 21 rejected a pre-arrest bail plea filed by Hindu Raksha Dal President Pinky Chaudhary who is one of the accused in the August 8 incident where inflammatory communal slogans were raised at Jantar Mantar. While rejecting his bail plea, the court observed that our country was not a Taliban state and the rule of law was a sacrosanct governing principle in our plural and multi-cultural society.
"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," Additional Sessions Judge Anil Antil observed.
"Thus, in light of my above discussion, taking note of the nature of accusations, the severity of the case and the conduct of the applicant/accused, and additionally, the fact that investigation is at the 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 order read.
On August 9, the Delhi police registered an FIR against unknown persons a day after inflammatory anti-Muslim slogans were raised at a protest meeting against 'Colonial-era laws' held at Jantar Mantar in the national capital.
A day later, on August 10 the Delhi Police arrested six people – Ashwani Upadhyay, Vinod Sharma, Deepak Singh, Vineet Bajpai, Deepak, and Preet Singh. While a court granted bail to Upadhyay, bail was refused for three others.
Calculative design to promote hatred and ill will: Court
The court observed that Chaudhary's complicity and role in the August 8 incident prima facie appeared serious and if the offenses were true then it was severe in nature.
The judge noted that Chaudhary's interview was impregnated with high octane communal barbs; laced with inflammatory, insulting, and threatening gestures, and was indicative of the calculative design to promote hatred and ill will amongst other sections of the community.
The court said the tone and tenure of Chaudhary's speech along with the threatening words used must be analyzed in the backdrop of his stature and influence as the President of the Hindu Raksha Dal. There is a strong possibility that if released on bail at this stage, Chaudhary would hamper the investigation and influence and/or threaten the witnesses, 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 the general public," the court observed.
The court considered the fact that the investigation was in its nascent stage and some of the accused were also absconding and evading the process of law.
Underscoring the importance of the freedom of speech, the court said that this freedom was not an "unfettered right". It is not absolute, and it could not be extended to transgress on someone else's fundamental right.
In the garb of libertarian speech, Chaudhary could not be allowed to trample on constitutional principles; invade and erode on the country's secular nature; or act in a manner that was prejudicial to the maintenance of peace, harmony, and public order.
Updated On: 2021-08-24T15:45:04+05:30