Punjab & Haryana High Court: State Needs to Be More Tolerant While Invoking Laws on Sedition and Religious Disaffection

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Jasvir Singh had filed the present Petition. The Petitioner herein sought a grant of regular bail in case of sedition and religious disaffection before the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Facts of the Case:

The Petitioner, Jasvir Singh, had streamed a live video on Facebook where he vented out his frustration over the Central and State Governments’ approach to handling the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to which an FIR had been filed against the Petitioner at Tanda Police Station on April 14. The Petitioner was accused under Section 115, 124-A, 153-A, 505(2), 295, 188, 269, 270, 271, 506 of IPC, Section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, and Section 54 of Disaster Management Act, 2005. According to the allegations in the FIR, the Petitioner had made statements against the unity and integrity of the Nation and aimed at causing communal hatred.

Submissions before Court:

Mr. Jasraj Singh appeared for the Petitioner. He submitted that the Petitioner had been in custody for over six months. Mr.Singh further informed the CourtCourt that there was no other criminal case pending against the Petitioner. Moreover hence, the Petitioner should be granted regular bail.

Court’s Observation:

The CourtCourt examined the transcript prepared from the live performance of the Petitioner on Facebook. After this, the Court observed that the words of the Petitioner were indeed intemperate and abusive. However, it did not amount to inciting hatred or communal disaffection. Nevertheless, such criticism could have been done decently.

The CourtCourt further noted that the Petitioner had been in custody for 6 months and 14 days. Moreover, the trial was also not likely to be concluded at an early date.

Court’s Order:

A Single Bench comprising Justice Sudhir Mittal allowed the Petitioner to be released on regular bail. The CourtCourt further remarked that the State needs to be more tolerant and circumspect while invoking sedition and religious disaffection laws.

For the original order of the case, Click here.


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