The Allahabad High Court refused to grant anticipatory bail to a History professor accused of posting obscene comment about Union Minister of Textiles and Women and Child Development, Smriti Irani. While the applicant contended that his account was hacked and he did not post the content, the bench of Justice JJ Munir observed that there was no material to prove the same.
The anticipatory bail application was filed by Dr. Shaharyar Ali since an FIR was lodged against him under Section 505(2) IPC (Statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes) and Section 67A (Punishment for publishing or transmitting of material containing sexually explicit act, etc., in electronic form) of Information Technology Act.
The counsel for the applicant submitted that he was falsely implicated at the instance of the informant, who is a Zila Mantri of the Bharatiya Janata Party. The applicant is a Professor in a degree college and Head of the History Department, and it was submitted that the objectionable post in question was done by hacking of his Facebook ID, regarding which, he has expressed his apologies.
The counsel for the government opposed the bail stating that the post carried obscene comment about a Cabinet Minister a containing a rumour likely to promote hatred or ill will behaviour between different religious groups.
The court considered the submissions and held that the contents of the post are indeed such which may in fact, promote or in all likelihood of promoting ill-will or hatred between different communities. The court stated that there is no material show whether the account was hacked and the fact that the applicant posted an apology shows that it was still being operated by him.
“In the prima facie opinion of this Court, looking to the fact that the applicant is a senior teacher in a college and a Head of Department, conduct of this kind prima facie does not entitle him to the indulgence of anticipatory bail,” the court held.
The court did not find it to be a fit case to grant anticipatory bail, however stated that the applicant is entitled to surrender and seek regular bail, which shall be considered expeditiously and in accordance with law.
The order may be read here: