Bail granted to EX- MLA PC George in Hate speech case: Kerala High Court

Ex- MLA PC George was granted interim bail in a hate speech case PC George vs State of Kerala & Ors (BAIL APPL. NO. 4094 OF 2022) by the Kerala High Court through learned Justice Gopinath P. Bail was granted to him for two cases registered by the Kerala Police for his alleged anti-muslim remarks made on two different occasions, one at Ernakulam and the other at Thiruvananthapuram.

BRIEF FACTS OF THE CASE: While attending an occasion, ‘Hindu Maha Sammelanam’ at Thiruvananthapuram, the accused made statements that promoted enmity between various groups on the grounds of religion. The statements also tend to hurt the sentiments of a certain class of people. A case against the accused, Ex-MLA PC George, was registered under Sections 153A and 295A of the Indian Penal Code. The accused was arrested on account of the case and further released on bail subject to a condition: “The accused is directed not to make and propagate controversy statement which may hurt the religious sentiments of others while on bail”. Later, while delivering a speech at a temple within the jurisdiction of the Palarivattom Police Station, the accused made similar statements attracting the same provisions of law mentioned earlier. A case was registered at the Palarivattom Police Station in this regard. The bail granted by the learned Magistrate was later cancelled since the new case registered was found to be a violation of the condition upon which he was earlier granted bail. Following the revocation of the bail, the accused was arrested and placed on remand. The accused further approached the Court for granting of regular bail pertaining to the case in this regard and anticipatory bail for the case registered at Palarivattom Police Station. Learned Counsel of the accused stated that the accused was falsely implicated. He argued that the petitioner had not committed an offence either under Section 153A or under Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code since the cases were registered taking into consideration bits and pieces of statements from the speech made by the petitioner. The learned Senior Counsel and Director General of Prosecutions submitted that if the accused was granted bail, it would tamper with the investigation process, and the accused would engage in the commission of similar offences, given the record of his behaviour in such previous cases.

JUDGEMENT: Hearing the contentions put forward by both the parties, the learned Judge was of the opinion that the bail could be granted to the accused in both cases. The Judge remarked that “since both the offences registered against the petitioner are punishable with a maximum imprisonment up to three years or fine (unless the case were to come within Sub Section (2) of section 153A), the continued detention of the petitioner may not be necessary”. Bail application with respect to the case registered at Thiruvananthapuram Police station was allowed subject to certain conditions. Similarly, Anticipatory bail was also granted by the Court subject to certain conditions with respect to the case registered against the accused at Palarivattom Police Station. The Court further remarked that if the bail conditions were violated in either of the cases, it was open to the prosecution to move to the Court for cancellation of the bail.


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