The Delhi High Court on Tuesday granted interim protection from arrest to the Chairman, Delhi Minorities Commission, Zafarul Islam Khan till June 22, on a plea for anticipatory bail filed by him after Delhi Police booked him under sedition Charges for his social media post.
A Single judge bench of Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri of Delhi High Court while conducting hearing through video conferencing said ‘no coercive action’ should be taken against Khan till the next date of hearing. The Court also directed the Delhi Police that prior notice be given to Khan well in advance if he has to be called for an investigation.
Khan has been booked under charges of sedition over a statement he has made on social media.
In a plea filed by him he had quoted FIR against him as a motivated, untenable, and absolutely frivolous complaint.
An FIR has been filed against him under section 124A and 153A of the Indian Penal Code charging him for Sedition and Promoting Enmity between groups. The FIR has been filed for the post stating, “…Mind you, bigots, Indian Muslims have opted until now not to complain to the Arabs and Muslim world about your hate campaigns and lynching and riots. The day they are pushed to do that, bigots will face an avalanche.”
The Court sought to know from Delhi Police about the action taken on the FIR. On which the counsel appearing for Delhi Police informed the Court that a notice has been issued to Khan under relevant section of the CrPC. He said Khan has submitted some documents and information as by them.
Learned Counsel Ms Vrinda Grover appearing for the Khan submitted before the Court that her client is ready to cooperate in the investigation but a prior notice should be served to him because of his age and lockdown.
The Court then directed the Delhi Police that prior notice be given to Khan well in advance if he has to be called for an investigation.
“The Petitioner in his social media posts highlighted the targeting of Muslims by “bigots” in India and expressed his thanks to Kuwait, for expressing international concern on the issue of the Muslim minority in India,” said the petition.
It has been alleged in the petition that the social media posts are falsely reported, distorted a sensationalized out of context by some of the media organizations to tarnish the stellar work he has been doing.
It has also been mentioned that “…the social media posts of the Petitioner are addressed to “bigots”, who through their words and actions are destroying the secular fabric, communal harmony within India, and bringing disrepute to India abroad.”
Khan has quoted the case of Shreya Singhal vs Union of India (2015) 5 SCC 1, in which the apex court of the country held “that mere disaffection, or even tendency of the speech to cause public disorder is not enough for the speech to be penalized, seeking anticipatory bail.”
The matter is listed for 22nd June.
-India Legal Bureau