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Kerala High Court grants advance bail to man accused of promoting religious enmity

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New Delhi: The Kerala High Court has granted anticipatory bail to a man accused under section 153A IPC for promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, while propagating his religious thoughts through a YouTube channel.

A single-judge bench of Justice Ashok Menon observed that the applicant/accused has been propagating Christianity through a YouTube channel and has been conducting debates comparing the religion with Islam. The court said it is not going into the details of the complicity of the applicant for offence punishable under section 153A IPC.

But, it would suffice to say that custodial interrogation of the applicant may not be necessary. All his debates and statements are well preserved in the form of YouTube uploads, and there is nothing, apart from that to be ascertained by the investigating officers. Hence, the applicant is entitled to a pre-arrest bail, particularly, considering the present pandemic situation

Kerala High Court

The prosecution case against the accused was that the applicant had been propagating his religious thoughts through the YouTube channel and while speaking in favour of Christianity, he has been promoting enmity between different groups on the ground of Religion and has been criticizing the preachers of Islam in such a manner that he was spreading disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between persons belonging to Islam and Christianity and thus committed an offence punishable under Section 153A IPC.

In his defence the applicant stated that he has no ill-will and all his arguments with the other religious leaders are based on ideologies and that he has been exercising his right within the Constitutional framework and the freedom of speech as guaranteed by the Constitution and his debates in the YouTube Channel are before the public and there was no attempt on his part to create hatred between persons belonging to Christianity or Islam.

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The Court said:

“All his debates and statements are well preserved in the form of YouTube uploads, and there is nothing, apart from that to be ascertained by the investigating officers and custodial interrogation of the applicant may not be required.”

Following this the Court allowed the anticipatory bail application with a condition that he shall cooperate in the investigation. 

-India Legal Bureau

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