On Thursday, a Division Bench of the Allahabad High Court consisting of Justice Manoj Kumar Gupta and Justice Rajendra Kumar dismissed a written petition filed against him by Ashok Kumar Pandey, Hindu Mahasabha Chief from Aligarh pleading for the quashing of an FIR for his communal remarks against Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and its founder Sir Saiyed Ahmad, resulting in damage to religious sentiment.
The complainant had also prayed during the ongoing investigation in the case for a stay on his detention under the FIR.
Ground of FIR
The FIR was lodged against the complainant by AMU Authorities after he made multiple remarks in 2020 against the said University and its founder. Subsequently, under the following section of IPC, an FIR was lodged with the Civil Lines Police Station, Aligarh District.
Sec. 153A: Fostering enmity between various classes based on nationality, race, place of birth, residency, etc., and committing actions that are counterproductive to preserving peace.
Sec. 153B: Imputations, assertions to the detriment of national integration.
Sec. 505(2): Comments that establish or promote animosity, hate or ill will between groups.
According to the FIR, by calling it “an institution being a classroom of terrorists” the petitioner made comments against AMU and called its founder, Sir Saiyed Ahmad Khan, a “traitor”.
It was, therefore, the complainant’s case that the petitioner’s comments were made to promote religious disharmony and animosity between different religious communities.
The High Court, after perusing the FIR on record, found that when grappling with the first prayer of quashing the FIR: “The allegations prima facie discloses commission of cognizable offence and therefore, the FIR requires proper investigation and cannot be quashed at this stage.”
The bench relied on the judgment of State of Telangana v. Habib Abdullah Jellani 2017 (2) SCC 779 on the second question related to the hold on arrest during the pending inquiry, in which the Supreme Court, after disagreeing with the HC order preventing the investigating agencies from arresting the accused, rejected the prayer for quashing the FIR.
Despite the above decision, the bench refused to stay the defendant’s detention and denied the appeal for the writ.
With the findings, the written petition is hereby rejected. This is without reservation to the petitioner’s right to obtain anticipatory bail/bail, as may be retained or instructed.’ The bench directed.