A Delhi court has dismissed the anticipatory or pre-arrest bail application of a fringe group’s president who allegedly raised communal slogans, saying “we are not a Taliban State”.
Additional Sessions Judge Anil Antil dismissed the application of Bhupinder Tomar, president of fringe group ‘Hindu Raksha Dal’, and said that in the past such incidents have flared communal tensions leading to riots and loss to life and property.
Bhupinder Tomar was accused of raising communal slogans and inciting the youth to propagate against a particular religion at a rally at Jantar Mantar on August 8.
“We are not 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 judge said in the order passed on August 21.
The court said complicity of the accused in the case was “prima facie” apparent from the available evidence and the accusations against him were serious and severe in nature.
“History is not immune where such incidents have fared communal tensions leading to riots and causing loss to life and property of general public,” the court order said.
The police had imposed the pre-arrest bail application, alleging that the accused used the platform at Jantar Mantar to create communal disharmony and to give communal colour to their plans, incited the youth to propagate against a particular religion, despite the sanction to gather refused by the competent authority.
During the court proceedings the judge had also played a video clip of an interview of the accused to a YouTube channel and observed that it was filled with high-octane communal barbs laced with inflammatory, insulting and threatening gestures.
He had said the interview was indicative of the calculative design on the part of the accused to promote hatred and ill will amongst other sections of the community.
He said that even though the right to freedom of speech was a fundamental right, one of the most cherished natural right enshrined in the Constitution under Article 19(1)(a), but it was not an “unfettered right”.
“It 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,” he said.
He added that in the garb of libertarian concept of free speech, the accused could not be allowed to trample the Constitutional principles, which promote inclusiveness and common brotherhood.
During the arguments, the prosecution had opposed the application, saying that the investigation was at nascent stage and since the accused was head of the fringe group ‘Hindu Raksha Dal’, if released on bail at this stage, he will hamper the investigation, and threaten witnesses, considering his tone and tenure of his speech and the threatening words used in the alleged interview.
The accused had sought pre-arrest bail on the ground that he had not been convicted earlier and that there was no chance of him fleeing from justice.
He also undertook to join the investigation as and when required if granted the relief.