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While Denying Pre-Arrest Bail to PFI Member Accused of Spreading Propaganda Against Ayodhya Ram Temple, Allahabad HC says “Right to Free Speech Not A License To Injure Religious Feelings"

Allahabad hc Ayodhya Ram Mandir

A PFI Member had been accused of trying to foster enmity between two religious groups by carrying out a malicious propaganda pertaining to the foundation laying ceremony of the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya. 

He filed an anticipatory bail however the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court denied the same.

The Single Judge Bench of Justice Chandra Dhari Singh observed, 

 

“The fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression in a secular State is not an absolute license to injure and hurt the religious feelings and beliefs of fellow citizens.”

The Bench noted the existence of a prima facie case against the accused, Md. Nadeem and said, 

"A person who takes the risk of dissemination of blasphemous messages is not entitled to get the discretion of the Court exercised in his favour."

Charges of Section 153-A, promoting enmity between different religious groups, of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 were pressed against Nadeem. 

It was specified by the Complainant that Nadeem was executing the propaganda ever since the starting of foundation laying ceremony of the temple while emphasising how each Muslim must come forward to protect Babri Masjid. 

This could disturb the public peace and instigate hatred between the communities. 

As the Additional Government Advocate opposed the Pre-Arrest Bail application, he also submitted before the HC that implicating materials against the accused had been found and therefore, a custodial interrogation is needed to conduct a fair investigation of offences that have been laid out in the FIR. 

While taking note of the same FIR, the Judge reached the conclusion of existence of a prima facie against the Accused. 

The order observed, “In the instant case, the comments/propaganda made by the applicant with regard to one religion or community are capable of inciting one community or group against other community. Therefore, prima facie, the offence punishable under Section 153A IPC is attracted to the facts of the case.”

Lastly, the Defence claimed that the allegations in the FIR were all false and all this was a blatant attempt to cover up his illegal detention by the Police. 

Case Title:

Md. Nadeem v. State of UP

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