A Delhi court has granted bail to two persons arrested during farmers protests in Delhi, under charges of sedition, forgery and public mischief. The Additional Session Judge of Patiala House court, Dharmendra Rana, in the February 15 order, held that while the offence of public mischief may be made out, which is a bailable offence, it was not convinced that offences of forgery ad sedition can be invoked against either applicants and hence, granted bail.
The applicants, Swaroop Ram and Devilal Burdak, submitted that they were falsely implicated and that no case of sedition was made out against them. They further said that police are no longer seeking the custodial interrogation and bail should be granted.
The prosecutor submitted that the applicants made a sensational Facebook Post with an intent to spread disaffection against the State and also committed forgery. The prosecution claimed that both accused posted a fake video with the description Delhi Police mae bagawat 200 police karmiyon ne diya samuhik istifa. (There is a rebellion in Delhi Police and around 200 police officials have resigned en mass.) However the posted video was related to an incident wherein some persons in Khaki (Home Guard personnel) were agitating in respect of their grievances with Jharkhand Government.
The court firstly dealt with the offence of forgery and held that it is only when a person dishonestly or fraudulently makes or executes a document with intention of causing it to be believed that such document was made or executed by some other person or by the authority of some other person by whom or by whose authority he knows that it was not made or executed that he is guilty of creating a ‘False Document’. The court held that the prosecution failed to point out any representation or endeavour on the part of the applicant/accused to cast an impression that the Facebook Page was made, executed or created under the authority of some other person.
The court then dealt with the offence of sedition and relied upon Supreme Court judgment in Kedar Nath v. State of Bihar AIR 1962 SC 955 where it held that, “The provisions of the sections (section 124A) read as a whole, along with the explanations, make it reasonably clear that the sections aim at rendering penal only such activities as would be intended, or have a tendency, to create disorder or disturbance of public peace by resort to violence.”
The court held thus:
“The law of sedition is a powerful tool in the hands of the state to maintain peace and order in the society. However, it cannot be invoked to quieten the disquiet under the pretence of muzzling the miscreants”
The court held that in this invoking 124A was seriously debateable and held, “In the absence of any exhortation, call, incitement or instigation to create disorder or disturbance of public peace by resort to violence or any allusion or oblique remark or even any hint towards this objective, attributable to the applicant accused, I suspect that Section 124 A IPC can be validly invoked against the applicant.”
It was also brought to the court’s notice that the applicants were not authors of the post but had merely forwarded it.
The court thus granted bail to both applicants considering the nature of allegations, grounds of parity and period of incarceration. The bail was granted subject to the applicants’ furnishing bail bond in the sum of Rs.50,000/- with one surety in the like amount and on the condition that they will appear before the court so as not to cause any obstruction or delay the proceedings.
The court orders may be read here.