Saturday, June, 25,2022

Delhi court grants bail to DU professor Ratan Lal in alleged inciting Facebook post case

New Delhi: A Delhi Court on Saturday granted bail to Delhi University, Professor Ratan Lal, in a case posting alleged defamatory/inciting material on Facebook related to the religious structure found in Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi.

Chief Metropolitan magistrate Siddhartha Malik of Tees Hazari court granted bail to professor Ratan Lal on furnishing a bail bond of Rs 50,000 and a surety bond of like amount. The Court observed, "The present accused is a person of good repute with no criminal antecedent and there is no likelihood of the accused fleeing the course of law. In view of the aforesaid, the court sees no need to send the accused to judicial custody."

The accused is directed to co-operate with the investigation as and when required by the investigation officer. It is specifically directed that the accused shall strictly refrain from posting any social media posts or interviews regarding the controversy which resulted in the present FIR.
Delhi police produced Ratan Lal before the court. Police submitted to send the accused to judicial custody in view of the ongoing case.

On the other hand, advocates who appeared for the accused filed the bail application and objected to the demand of sending the accused to Judicial custody.
Advocate Aditya Chaudhary on behalf of the accused argued that the accused is a professor of history at Delhi University and he is an authority in the subject. The accused had no intention of hurting the religious feelings of any person or group and he has simply made a light-hearted comment on a matter which is still pending before various courts in the country.

It was further argued that the accused is a person of repute who is himself a big follower of the Hindu religion and does not seek to create any animosity between religious groups.
On the other hand, Additional public prosecutor Atul Srivastava submitted that the Facebook post of the accused is clearly meant to incite hatred between religious groups and the accused has given various interviews after the post, to explain the post where he has again made the same derogatory remarks.

After hearing the submission the court observed that the accused admittedly made a Post on Facebook wherein he has made a remark on a structure which is claimed by different groups as different religious symbols, including a claim regarding the discovery of a Shivling and the matter is still pending before the concerned courts.
Further, the photographs used in the post are themselves not verified to be belonging to any specific proceedings as the controversy relates to a report which is still not in the public domain, the court order reads.
Therefore, it is clear that the post of the accused is speculative in nature with regards to a structure/symbol which is as of now is not accessible in the public domain, the court observed.

The court said in the order that when considered in the aforesaid context, the post of the accused may appear to be a failed attempt at satire regarding a controversial subject which has backfired, resulting in the present FIR.
It is observed that Indian civilization is one of the oldest in the world and is known to be tolerant and accepting of all religions. The presence or absence of intention to create animosity/hatred by words is subjective in nature as is the perception of the recipient who reads or hears a statement.

The court said that India is a country of more than 130 crores people and any subject can have 130 crores different views and perceptions.
At the outset of the hearing, the court directed the people who were not connected with the case to vacate the court including the media. (ANI)

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