Punjab Aug 4(ILNS): The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday, granted Bail to a farm leader who allegedly delivered an objectionable speech against Manohar Lal Khattar the Chief Minister of Haryana.
A Single Bench comprised of Justice Avneesh Jhingan passed this order while hearing a Petition filed by Dalbir.
Two Petitions are filed by Dalbir seeking regular bail in FIR dated February 22, 2017, under Section 124-A, 153-A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (Sections 294, 504, 500, 506, 505(1) IPC added later on and FIR dated May 24, 2021, under Sections 294, 504, 500, 506 and 505(1) IPC respectively registered at Police Station Sadar Jind, Jind.
In this case, the issue of both FIRs is that Petitioner had given speeches which according to the State had objectionable contents with regard to the present Chief Minister, Haryana, and could have resulted in caste-based division creating a threat to the peace and harmony.
The state reply said that apprehension is that the Petitioner was arrested with great difficulty and there is every chance of his absconding.
Counsel for the Petitioner submitted that it is a case of false implication. The Petitioner was only exercising his fundamental right to protest. Petitioner has the right to criticize the functioning of the State.
Counsel for the Petitioner contended that to meet the apprehension of the State, Petitioner is ready to furnish a surety of Rs. 2 Lakhs each in both the FIRs.
State Counsel submitted that the Petitioner if enlarged on bail, would indulge in similar activities and will create a Law and Order problem.
“While dealing with the petitions for grant of regular bail, the Court has no occasion to consider the merits of the allegations in detail. Suffice to say that freedom of speech is a fundamental right and makes a foundation for a strong democracy. At this stage must hasten to add that embargo to freedom of speech is prescribed in Article 19 of the Constitution of India itself”, the Court said.
The Court stated that the nature of contents of the speeches would be the subject matter of trial as to whether it was a lawful protest against the policies and working of the Government or had a different goal and intention.
“Be that as it may, the investigation in both the cases is complete. The conclusion of the trial is likely to take time. On mere apprehension that bail will be misused, it would not be appropriate to deny the petitioner of his personal liberty. The Petitioner is granted bail, subject to furnishing surety/bail bonds to the tune of Rs. 2 Lakhs each in both the FIRs before the Chief Judicial Magistrate/Duty Magistrate concerned”, the Court ordered.
Therefore, the Court allowed both Petitions.
“Needless to say that in case there is a misuse of bail granted to the petitioner, the State would always be at liberty to apply for cancellation of the bail order”, the order said./ILNS/AP/SV/SNG