Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Congress leader who wore T-shirt with Jagdish Tytler’s picture granted bail

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has granted bail to the general secretary of the Pradesh Congress Committee SC/ST cell after holding that prima facie material to constitute the offence of promoting communal hatred was not found against him. It was alleged that petitioner Karamjit Singh Gill had taken a dip in the holy waters at the Golden Temple before wearing a T-shirt with the picture of former Congress MP Jagdish Tytler.
Justice Sandeep Moudgil’s Bench, during the course of hearing, was told that the FIR dated August 17 was lodged in the matter on a complaint by the manager, Sachkhand Shri Harmandir Sahib. Appearing on the complainant’s behalf, senior counsel PS Hundal argued that Tytler was an accused in the “1984 Sikh genocide”.
The petitioner knowing this fully well deliberately, with intent to hurt the sentiments of the Sikhs, wore the T-shirt. Hundal contended that such an act was a well-planned conspiracy to disturb the peaceful atmosphere.
Senior counsel Anmol Rattan Singh contended on the petitioner’s behalf that the case was politically motivated. He argued that the offence under Section 153-A of the IPC was not made out as none of the ingredients therein were, prima facie, evident from the bare language of the FIR.
Punjab Deputy Advocate-General Rajiv Verma, on the other hand, submitted that the petitioner committed serious offence under Section 153-A and was nominated as accused on the basis of CCTV footage and not mere suspicion.
Justice Moudgil asserted that Section 153-A would apply if a person was found doing acts prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony by promoting enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc. by words either spoken or written, by signs, visible representations or otherwise promoted or attempted to promote disharmony or feeling of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious, racial, language or regional groups, caste or community, apart from other factors.
The petitioner was merely wearing a T-shirt with a picture of one on his favorite persons with the words “Happy birthday to our beloved godfather”. It did not reflect any incriminating material or provocative act on the petitioner’s part to bring the case within the ambit of Section 153-A.

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