A Kerala court on Wednesday denied anticipatory bail to former Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) PC George in a case registered against him for making communal remarks.
\Additional District and Sessions Judge G Girish dismissed the anticipatory bail plea moved by the former MLA.
"The comments made by the petitioner in the above regard prima facie appear to be of such a nature as to promote disharmony, hatred and ill will between the persons belonging to Muslim community and the followers of two other predominant religions of our State. Needless to say that the contention of the petitioner that offence u/s 153A and 295A are not made out even if the entire allegations levelled against him are admitted, is totally baseless and unacceptable", the order stated.
The judge also derided George's conduct in delivering such a speech mere days after he secured bail in a similar case with the same offences alleged.
This is the second such case registered against George.
In a span of ten days, PC George had two cases registered against him for delivering speeches on communal lines.
He had secured bail in the first case earlier.
On May 10, the Palarivattom Police in Kochi registered a suo motu case against George on the charge for delivering a speech on communal lines at a temple in Vennala on May 8.
In this speech, which was aired on various platforms, George referred to the Muslim community in a purportedly derogatory manner, including by alluding to "love jihad".
"Love jihad" is a term used to support the conspiracy theory which claims that Muslim men marry women of other religions to convert them to Islam.
He has been charged under Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, etc and doing acts prejudicial to maintaining harmony) and 295A (deliberate and malicious act intended to outrage religious feelings by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code.
George then approached the Principle Sessions Court, Ernakulam, seeking anticipatory bail under Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
At the hearing on Wednesday, Advocate Geo Paul, appearing for George, had argued that the speech was not per-se inflammatory, at least with regard to its intention.
Rather, it only had some observations that George had made based on statistical facts regarding all religious communities, Paul had submitted.
He went on to argue that criticism of societal issues is necessary for the progress of any democracy and regardless of the manner in which George delivered his speech, it was only his fair opinion on social dynamics in the State.
However, the judge said that that to attract the offence under Section 153A, even an attempt to promote enmity on religious lines would suffice.
The judge also pointed out that George, in his speech, had warned members of other communities to be wary of the rise in the population of Muslims in Kerala.
Paul, however, had pressed the Court to consider the fact that George is a 70-year-old public servant who is not a flight risk. Moreover, all evidence has been collected and there is no chance for him to tamper with the same.
The Public Prosecutor had opposed these contentions and argued that George violated the condition set by the Magistrate while granting him bail in a previous case, to not include any controversial topics in his public addresses.
He contended that it is clearly George's intention to disrupt communal harmony in the State.
On May 1, George was arrested for a speech he had delivered at the Ananthapuri Hindu Maha Sammelan on April 29. The State Police had allegedly received several complaints objecting to some incendiary statements against the Muslim Community.
A case was registered against him under Sections 153A and 295A of the IPC.
On the same day that he was arrested, a Judicial First Class Magistrate in Thiruvananthapuram granted him bail.
Disclosure: The reporter's spouse is a lawyer for the accused in the case.