Hate speech: Court dismisses bail plea of organiser of Jantar Mantar event
A Delhi court has dismissed the bail application of one of the organisers of an event near Jantar Mantar where communal slogans were raised earlier this month.
Additional Sessions Judge Anil Antil denied relief to Preet Singh, arrested by the Delhi Police in the case, saying right to assemble and freedom to air one's thoughts are cherished under the Constitution, however, these are not absolute and have to be exercised with inherent reasonable restrictions.
Singh was accused of creating enmity between different groups and inciting the youth to propagate against a particular religion at a rally at Jantar Mantar on August 8.
The judge, on the basis of the material placed on record and submissions put forth by the prosecution, observed that prima facie there had been active participation by the accused in his individual capacity and also as the main organiser of the event itself.
In its order passed on August 27, the court also noted that the event was conducted at Jantar Mantar in spite of the denial of permission by the Delhi Police and in total disregard to Covid protocol issued by the Union government.
"It is apposite to mention that the applicant not only voluntarily organised the event but also actively participated and provided support to the views and contents of inflammatory speeches, which were being made by the participants/accused persons at that time, by acknowledging and endorsing via gestures and clapping intermittently," the judge observed in the order.
He said given the stature of the accused, it was expected that he ought to have exercised his authority, in these circumstances, and prevented participants from airing such inflammatory opinions in the larger interest of the public and committee welfare.
"On the other hand, the applicant is clearly seen actively participating in the incendiary speeches along with his other associates," he said.
"In addition, on prima facie analysis of the inflammatory and incendiary content of the speeches or interviews of the participants members of the event, comments especially those pertaining in express pejorative references to a religious community, and keeping in view that the applicant was an active organiser of the event, he can not later absolve himself of the responsibility of the content or consequences arising therefrom," he said.
The court also noted that an anticipatory bail application moved by co-accused and president of Hindu Raksha Dal, Pinki Chaudhary, on a similar ground was dismissed earlier.
The court also held that being an active, main organiser of the event, the accused was an influential personality and there was a possibility of him interfering with the investigation and influencing the witnesses of the case, if released on bail.
While opposing the application, the prosecution told the court that the accusations were severity in nature and the investigation was still at a nascent stage.
It also said a number of accused people were absconding and evading the process of law and the entire incriminating material is yet to be recovered.