Jantar Mantar case: Delhi High Court grants bail to Preet Singh

The order was pronounced by Justice Mukta Gupta.
Jantar Mantar case: Delhi High Court grants bail to Preet Singh
Jantar Mantar Slogan gang and Preet Singh

The Delhi High Court has allowed the bail plea moved by Preet Singh, an accused in the case registered in relation to the anti-Muslim slogans that were raised following a rally organised at Jantar Mantar in Delhi last month. (Preet Singh v. The State of NCT Delhi)

The order was pronounced by Justice Mukta Gupta on Friday.

"The petitioner has been in custody since 9/10.08.2021.The petitioner is no more required for custodial interrogation. It is, therefore, directed that the petitioner be released on bail on his furnishing a personal bond in the sum of ₹50,000/- with two surety bonds of the like amount ...", the Court said.

The bail conditions imposed on Preet Singh include that he should not leave the country without prior permission from the court concerned, and that he intimate any change of residential address or mobile number to the court concerned by way of affidavit.

The Court had reserved orders on September 15 after hearing arguments made by Advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain for Preet Singh and Advocate Tarang Srivastava for the State.

Preet Singh had asserted that he was not involved in giving any inflammatory speeches or raising any slogans against any person or community.

Appearing for Singh, Jain had also argued that Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth etc.) of the Indian Penal Code would not be attracted even if Singh had mentioned in an interview his support for a "Hindu Rashtra."

Advocate Srivastava, on the other hand, asserted that Singh, along with others co-accused in the case, had a common intention to promote ill will against a particular minority community.

The Court, in its order, declined to comment on the merits of these arguments.

The Court, however, took note that Preet Singh, being a co-organiser of the Jantar Mantar rally, would be liable for any offence committee in furtherance of the "common object" of the assembly, although the Court also noted that he left the spot at around 2 pm before the inflammatory slogans were raised.

" .... at this stage it would not be appropriate for this Court to express any opinion on the said determination which is required to be gone into at the stage of charge or during trial. However, the interview by the petitioner was not an isolated interview and was part of simultaneous conversation with number of speakers. Further large number of people gathered at the spot due to petitioner co-organizing the protest and therefore the petitioner would be liable for any offence committed in furtherance of the common object of the assembly. However, as per the video footages and the call records of the petitioner, the petitioner left the spot at around 2.00 PM whereafter the main provocative words/ slogans were shouted by the co-accused at around 4.00 PM", the order stated.

The rally at Jantar Mantar was organised by former BJP spokesperson and lawyer, Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay to protest against colonial-era laws. Videos had also emerged from the site of the rally in which people had called for the killing of Muslims.

Upadhyay along with five others were later arrested based on the video.

Upadhyay, however had denied any links to slogan raising stating that he had left the venue at 12 pm whereas the slogans were raised by 'unknown' miscreants from 5 pm onwards.

Upadhyay was granted bail.

However, Preet Singh's bail plea was rejected by the trial court leading to the present appeal, which has been allowed today.

[Read Order]

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