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Karnataka High Court grants MLA’s Nephew bail accused of making derogatory Facebook post on Prophet Mohammed [READ ORDER]

The nephew of a sitting Karnataka MLA, accused of making derogatory remarks on a Facebook post regarding Prophet Mohammed was granted bail, on grounds that there are threats to his life

By: Gokul Kumar

The nephew of the current MLA of the Pulikeshinagar constituency, was charged with offences under Sections 153A and 295A of the Indian Penal Code and also under Section 67 of the Information Technology Act pertaining to the posting of derogatory remarks on facebook about the Prophet Mohammed. On the mere grounds that there are threats to his life, if the application for bail is rejected it would indirectly affect his fundamental rights, observed Justice BA Patil.

The accused contended in his bail plea that he had merely forwarded a post and had later withdrawn it, claiming that he is innocent as it was solely with political motive and that false complaints had been lodged against him. 

The prosecution opposed the bail plea by contending that the post he shared has created a disturbance in the local community, sparking unrest in the administrative wing, and inciting turmoil in society, causing a commotion in which; two police stations and 57 police vehicles have been burnt with a number more of properties and vehicles being severely damaged. 

Furthermore it was submitted that there are 7 more cases registered against him, stating that he is a habitual offender.  The states contention is that there is a threat to the life of the petitioner himself if he is released on bail. 

The court has noted that the maximum punishment that can be prescribed for the offences under Section 153A and 295A of IPC is 3 years, deeming that investigation is complete and that charge sheets have been filed. While granting bail by imposing stringent conditions the court notes: 

“I am of the considered opinion that the apprehension of the learned Special Public Prosecutor that if he is released on bail there is a threat to the life of petitioner himself and it may create unrest in the society can be taken care off by imposing some stringent conditions. Merely on the ground that there is threat to the life of petitioner if the bail application of the petitioner is rejected, it would indirectly affect the fundamental right of the petitioner, when the only allegation against the petitioner is that he has posted some derogatory remarks against Prophet Mohammed in his facebook account and subsequently, the same has been withdrawn. Under such circumstances, by imposing some stringent conditions, if the petitioner- accused is ordered to be released on bail, it would meet the ends of justice.”

Case: Naveen P vs State Of Karnataka [CRIMINAL PETITION No.4819 OF 2020] 

Coram: Justice BA Patil

 Counsel: Adv N. Padmavathi, Spl. PP P.Prasanna Kumar

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