Court rejects request for early bail, says “we are not a Taliban state”
A Delhi court last week rejected an application for early bail for one of the defendants in the Jantar Mantar hate slogans case, saying India was not a Taliban state and the rule of the law was the “governing sacrosanct principle” in the country’s multicultural society, Live Law reported.
Participants in a rally in Jantar Mantar on August 8 shouted communal slogans calling for the death of Muslims. The event was hosted by former Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Ashwini Upadhyay. He was arrested on August 10 but released on bail a day later.
Five other people – Deepak Singh, Vinod Sharma, Vineet Bajpai, Preet Singh and Deepak Kumar – have also been taken into police custody. On August 12, a court rejected the bail applications of three of the defendants.
Bhupendra Tomar, the chairman of a fringe group called Hindu Raksha Dal, was one of the participants. In his request for bail, Tomar claimed that the charges against him were false, India Today reported.
But on August 21, Extra Sessions Judge Anil Antil pointed to a video of Tomar making inflammatory remarks. Police had submitted the clip to court.
“It is clear from the video in question shown in court during the proceedings, and from the attached transcript, that the said clip, illustrating the applicant’s interview, is impregnated with common high-octane beards mixed with inflammatory, insulting and threatening gestures. “said the judge.
He added that Tomar’s comments were “indicative of the calculating design aimed at promoting hatred and ill will among other sections of the community,” according to Live Law.
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The judge noted that the charges against Tomar were serious. “History is not immune when such incidents have exacerbated community tensions leading to riots and causing loss of life and property to the general public,” he said.
Antil pointed out that the entire country was celebrating India’s independence but that some minds were still “shackled by intolerant and self-centered beliefs.”
The judge also made some observations on the right to freedom of expression. “Disguised as a libertarian concept of freedom of expression, the applicant / accused cannot be allowed to flout constitutional principles, which promote inclusiveness and common brotherhood,” he said, according to Live Law.
Antil added that the right to freedom of expression was not absolute. “Nor can it be extended to the transgression of the fundamental rights of others; nor can it extend to acts prejudicial to the maintenance of peace, harmony and public order; nor can it be allowed to invade and erode the sexual fabric of our society, ”he said, according to Bar and Bench.