A single-judge bench of Justice R. Raghunandan Rao released the suspended judicial officer by granting him bail, who had earlier expressed his displeasure about the working of the government and was booked under sections 124A, 153, 153A of IPC.
Here, a complaint was filed against the Petitioner, (currently, a suspended judicial officer) in relation to some comments made by him during a television debate. During the debate, the petitioner made some extreme and unreasonable remarks against the government and the Hon’ble Chief Minister and also stated that “he is looking forward to cutting off the head of the Hon’ble Chief Minister”.
Based on these comments, the petitioner was booked under the offence of sedition under Section 124A of I.P.C. and was sent to judicial custody. And since then, he has been under judicial custody for more than 60 days and also got his bail denied once by the trial judge in May 2021.
The learned counsel appearing from the side of the petitioner submitted that the officer is already in custody for more than 60 days and in no way, he can tamper with the evidence or the investigation of the case.
The counsel also emphasised that the petitioner intended to only show his dissatisfaction against the functioning and working of the government.
In addition to that, the senior counsel also referred to the landmark case of Kedarnath Singh vs State of Bihar (AIR 1962 SC 955) to provide a proper solution and answer to the sedition case.
The public prosecutor appearing from the side of the respondent opposed the grant of the bail to the petitioner on the claims that the petitioner, being a judicial officer, currently suspended, was completely aware of the implications of his remarks, as well as their impacts and influence upon the public at large.
In addition to that, he also submitted that his statements, regardless of how they were inferred, amounted to a call to topple or overthrow the government and that the provisions of Section 124A I.P.C would firmly apply to the current case.
It was also argued that Rules 15 to 17 of the A.P. Civil Services Conduct Rules clearly mention that no serving officer of the government is allowed to speak about any dimension of the government’s ability to function or make any opinions or remarks on senior officers without the approval of the State Government.
The court observed that the possibility of the petitioner affecting the investigation of the case is not a possibility because the evidence of the crime here is a recorded television debate that cannot be tampered with and as the time of more than 60 days has already been completed and nothing of such sort happened that would affect the investigation. As a result, it is extremely doubtful that the suspended Judicial officer, or petitioner, would attempt to flee.
The court decided to grant bail to the petitioner on certain conditions that the petitioner won’t be allowed to address the press or any media on any subjects related to the case and will cooperate with the investigation by appearing before the investigating officer whenever required.
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