Noting that the Haryana Police is currently seeking only "formal arrest" of cricketer Yuvraj Singh in an alleged casteist remark case, the Punjab & Haryana High Court last week directed that if he is arrested while joining the probe, he should be released on interim bail upon furnishing bail and surety bonds.
The Bench of Justice Amol Rattan Singh was hearing Singh's plea for the quashing of the FIR filed against him for allegedly making casteist remarks about another cricketer on Instagram last year.
BACKGROUND OF THE CASE:
Singh filed the FIR in response to a complaint filed by one Rajat Kalsan of Hansi under Sections 153 A (promoting enmity) and 153B (assertions prejudicial to national-integration) of the Indian Penal Code, as well as the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Prevention and Atrocities Act, 1989.
Senior Counsel Puneet Bali argued before the Court that Singh did not intend to incite feelings of enmity, hatred, or ill-will toward members of the Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes, and that the implication of the word used was only in the context of an inebriated person (person who consumes bhang).
The complainant's counsel, on the other hand, contended that this particular argument was raised after the petition was filed, and thus it was only a "ingenious argument" made by senior counsel.
ORDER OF THE COURT
Taking into account the submission, the Court observed that, earlier, on September 15th, it had directed that no coercive steps be taken against Singh as an interim measure; however, because the SP sought only "formal arrest" of Singh under Section 18-A(b) of the SC/ST Act of 1989, the Court issued the following order:
"...the interim order is modified to the extent that the petitioner, upon joining investigation with the investigating officer, if he is sought to be arrested, would be released on interim bail, upon furnishing bail and surety bonds to his satisfaction, till the next date of hearing before this court.”
Importantly, while issuing the aforementioned order, the Court did emphasise that, in light of the Supreme Court's decision in the case of M/s Neeharika Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. vs. State of Maharashtra and others, LL 2021 SC 211, 'no coercive steps' orders must not be issued, and instead, the accused must be relegated to apply for anticipatory bail.
However, because Singh had not applied for anticipatory bail and the SP did not seek his proper arrest but only a "formal arrest" in this case, the Court issued the aforementioned order granting him bail on joining the investigation.
However, the Court has granted the SP the right to file another affidavit if she has anything else to say about the matter, specifically regarding the phrase "formal arrest" used by her in her affidavit, clarifying what she meant.
The case will now be heard again on November 18, 2021 as Singh's counsel has indicated that he wishes to address additional arguments in the current quashing petition.
CASE- Yuvraj Singh v. State of Haryana and another