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Delhi: Hindu College associate professor Rattan Lal granted bail

Students and professors rallied around the historian and professor, who was granted bail on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 and one surety of the same amount

Sabrangindia 21 May 2022

Delhi University

Delhi University’s Hindu College associate professor Rattan Lal was granted bail on Saturday evening, hours after his late night arrest on Friday. A city court granted bail to Prof Lal, on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 and one surety of the same amount. Delhi Police had arrested Lal under Indian Penal Code sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 295A  (deliberate act to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion). 

According to a report in Indian Express, Lal was produced before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) Siddhartha Malik at the Tis Hazari court by the Delhi police, who sought his 14-day judicial custody. Lal’s lawyers had moved his bail application before the CMM arguing that his arrest was in violation of Supreme Court guidelines in the Arnesh Kumar judgement and that he did not incite anyone through his social media post.

The FIR, that led to his arrest, had been filed based on a complaint filed by Vineet Jindal, a Delhi-based lawyer on Tuesday night. Vineet Jindal had accused Lal of sharing a “derogatory, inciting and provocative tweet" on the "Shivling” that was allegedly discovered in the Wazu Khana (ablution tank) of the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi. 

According to the bail order, the social media post made by Prof Ratan Lal was “clearly speculative in nature with regard to a structure/ symbol which as of now is not accessible in public domain”. The court said considering the context, his post was at best a “failed attempt at satire regarding a controversial subject which has backfired.”

 The court added that “the Indian civilisation was “one of the oldest in the world and known to be tolerant and accepting to 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/ hears a statement. India is a country of more than 130 crores people and any subject can have 130 crore different views and perceptions.” 

Appearing for Delhi Police, Additional public prosecutor Atul Shrivastava, stated before the court that “prima facie some comments have been passed that have the potential to disturb the public tranquillity…  the most important aspect, not expected from such an educated person,was after making such type of remarks, he has not stopped there, he has been defending himself through different videos uploaded on YouTube.” 

The court observed that, “the feeling of hurt felt by an individual cannot represent  the entire group or community and any such complaint regarding hurt feelings has to be seen in its context considering the entire spectrum of facts/ circumstances.”  

Meanwhile, Lal’s lawyers had reportedly told the court that he was “an authority on Ambedkar” and a person of his “stature and intellect” had “not created any enmity” or “called for violence” adding that he had in fact been respectful to the Hindu god Shiva, and submitted, “Shiva is not the property of a certain section of society. Would he incite his own people? He is a Shiv devotee himself.”

The court said that Lal was a person of “good repute with no criminal antecedent and there is no likelihood of the accused fleeing” . The court did agree that Lal’s action “was avoidable”, and has in its bail condition ordered that he “strictly refrain from posting any social media posts” on the subject that resulted in this FIR.    

Delhi University students, teachers, and activists had gathered at midnight at the Maurice Nagar police station to protest the late night arrest of Prof Rattan Lal. Even after he was granted bail, student groups are likely to hold more public meetings to condemn the targeting of the popular professor, who is a known face on social media as well.

According to news reports, the prosecutor had “addressed the circumstances surrounding Lal’s arrest and cited a Delhi High Court order dealing with the case of a smuggler and said that if there was an apprehension that a person was going to commit a similar offence then it empowered the police to proceed with the arrest without serving a notice.”

Related:

Delhi professor arrested for post about "Shivling"
Gyanvapi case: SC transfers the case from Trial Court to District Court
Filmmaker Avinash Das booked for sharing picture of Amit Shah with arrested IAS officer Pooja Singhal
Another FIR against Prateek Hajela, this time by Hitesh Dev Sarma
Open letter to Sharda University Vice Chancellor

Delhi: Hindu College associate professor Rattan Lal granted bail

Students and professors rallied around the historian and professor, who was granted bail on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 and one surety of the same amount

Delhi University

Delhi University’s Hindu College associate professor Rattan Lal was granted bail on Saturday evening, hours after his late night arrest on Friday. A city court granted bail to Prof Lal, on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 and one surety of the same amount. Delhi Police had arrested Lal under Indian Penal Code sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 295A  (deliberate act to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion). 

According to a report in Indian Express, Lal was produced before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) Siddhartha Malik at the Tis Hazari court by the Delhi police, who sought his 14-day judicial custody. Lal’s lawyers had moved his bail application before the CMM arguing that his arrest was in violation of Supreme Court guidelines in the Arnesh Kumar judgement and that he did not incite anyone through his social media post.

The FIR, that led to his arrest, had been filed based on a complaint filed by Vineet Jindal, a Delhi-based lawyer on Tuesday night. Vineet Jindal had accused Lal of sharing a “derogatory, inciting and provocative tweet" on the "Shivling” that was allegedly discovered in the Wazu Khana (ablution tank) of the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi. 

According to the bail order, the social media post made by Prof Ratan Lal was “clearly speculative in nature with regard to a structure/ symbol which as of now is not accessible in public domain”. The court said considering the context, his post was at best a “failed attempt at satire regarding a controversial subject which has backfired.”

 The court added that “the Indian civilisation was “one of the oldest in the world and known to be tolerant and accepting to 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/ hears a statement. India is a country of more than 130 crores people and any subject can have 130 crore different views and perceptions.” 

Appearing for Delhi Police, Additional public prosecutor Atul Shrivastava, stated before the court that “prima facie some comments have been passed that have the potential to disturb the public tranquillity…  the most important aspect, not expected from such an educated person,was after making such type of remarks, he has not stopped there, he has been defending himself through different videos uploaded on YouTube.” 

The court observed that, “the feeling of hurt felt by an individual cannot represent  the entire group or community and any such complaint regarding hurt feelings has to be seen in its context considering the entire spectrum of facts/ circumstances.”  

Meanwhile, Lal’s lawyers had reportedly told the court that he was “an authority on Ambedkar” and a person of his “stature and intellect” had “not created any enmity” or “called for violence” adding that he had in fact been respectful to the Hindu god Shiva, and submitted, “Shiva is not the property of a certain section of society. Would he incite his own people? He is a Shiv devotee himself.”

The court said that Lal was a person of “good repute with no criminal antecedent and there is no likelihood of the accused fleeing” . The court did agree that Lal’s action “was avoidable”, and has in its bail condition ordered that he “strictly refrain from posting any social media posts” on the subject that resulted in this FIR.    

Delhi University students, teachers, and activists had gathered at midnight at the Maurice Nagar police station to protest the late night arrest of Prof Rattan Lal. Even after he was granted bail, student groups are likely to hold more public meetings to condemn the targeting of the popular professor, who is a known face on social media as well.

According to news reports, the prosecutor had “addressed the circumstances surrounding Lal’s arrest and cited a Delhi High Court order dealing with the case of a smuggler and said that if there was an apprehension that a person was going to commit a similar offence then it empowered the police to proceed with the arrest without serving a notice.”

Related:

Delhi professor arrested for post about "Shivling"
Gyanvapi case: SC transfers the case from Trial Court to District Court
Filmmaker Avinash Das booked for sharing picture of Amit Shah with arrested IAS officer Pooja Singhal
Another FIR against Prateek Hajela, this time by Hitesh Dev Sarma
Open letter to Sharda University Vice Chancellor

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