The Sub-Divisional Judicial Court in Pataudi here on Thursday rejected the bail appeal of Ram Bhakt Gopal, accused of hate speech at a Mahapanchayat targeting a religious community, observing that “if such kind of persons are allowed to move freely…the very existence of communal harmony may be disturbed” and it would give a “wrong message to the divisive forces”.
In an eleven-page order, Judicial Magistrate First Class, Mohd. Sageer, observed that “the alleged offences committed by the accused person are very
serious and severe in nature” and “at this juncture, the rights of the accused of his personal liberty cannot be preferred against the right of the society to peaceful communal harmony and balance lies in favour of the later”. He said such people were “harming this country more than the pandemic”.
Appearing for the accused, advocate Kulbhushan Bhardwaj said he himself was present at the Mahapanchayat and argued that “due to early inflammatory speeches of other persons and charged atmosphere, the accused got carried away and that keeping in view of his young age and innocent mind, he be released on bail”. Mr. Bhardwaj said his client was arrested because he was an “outsider” and had “no political connections in the state”. He said there were other orators who were powerful persons, and they gave inflammatory speeches, but no action was taken against them. He argued that this showed bias attitude of Haryana Police against his client. Another lawyer Avinash Mishra said the “personal liberty of the accused has to be given importance” and added that “video recording may be a creation of editing”.
Arguing against the bail, Assistant Public Prosecutor for State, argued that the accused can interfere in free and fair investigation and can threaten
and make pressure upon the complainant and other witnesses and can flee from the trial if he is allowed bail.
Rejecting the arguments that the accused was being falsely implicated, Mr. Sageer said the “conscience of the court is utterly shocked while seeing the actual incidents which took place at that time, in video recording” and observed that “hate speech based on religion or caste has become fashion nowadays. The police also seem to be helpless of dealing with such incidents. These kinds of activities are actually disturbing the secular fabric of our country and killing the spirit of the Constitution of India”.
The court observed that “hate speech lays the groundwork for later, broad attacks on vulnerable that can range from discrimination to ostracism, segregation, deportation, violence and in the most extreme cases, genocide,” adding that “it is the time to give a strong message to such anti-social elements who distribute hatred based on religion etc. by way of hate speech that the rule of law still prevails”.
With reference to the accused’s previous alleged involvement in a shooting case at Delhi during anti-CAA protests when he was a minor, the court observed that “the concession given by the courts of law due to his age has not been taken in good sense by this accused. Rather it seems that he has
taken the concession in wrong perspective that he can do anything even to destroy the very fundamental feature of the Constitution which we called ‘secularism’ by his hate speech.”
Mr. Bhardwaj said that they would make an appeal for bail at the Sessions Court.
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