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An SC/ST Act case was lodged against the Rajya Sabha MP on allegations that he had said that certain lower caste High Court Judges were appointed only because of "alms rendered" by former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi.
The Madras High Court on Tuesday dismissed the State's plea to cancel bail granted to DMK organising secretary and Rajya Sabha Member, RS Bharathi in connection with the SC/ST case registered against him remarks allegedly made against lower caste High Court judges (State v. RS Bharathi and anr).
However, while passing the order Justice N Sathish Kumar also sounded a note of caution that persons holding high office should be circumspect to avoid making remarks that may create disharmony among citizens.
The Court added,
The case concerned certain statements alleged to have been made by Bharathi in a political meeting held in February this year.
As per the complainant, Bharathi had stated that former High Court Judge, late Justice A Varadharajan and "7 or 9 other judges from the lower caste" had become judges only because of "alms rendered" by former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi.
A FIR was lodged over the speech in March 2020 citing provisions of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
Bharathi was arrested by the police on May 23. He was subsequently granted interim bail. After a challenge to this interim bail was dismissed by the Madras High Court, Bharathi was also eventually granted regular bail on June 1.
The High Court has now dismissed a challenge to the June 1 order, finding that no case has been made out for the cancellation of bail or to do away with the principle that "jail is a rule and bail is an exception.
In this regard, the Court also rejected a contention by the State that the SC/ST Act offence should be viewed more seriously given that the provision of anticipatory bail has been taken away from the Act.
"Such contention cannot be countenanced", the Court said, adding that it will lead to serious consequences.
Justice Kumar proceeded to dismiss the plea to cancel Bharathi's bail, holding that,
During the course of the order, the judge also clarified that it is not expressing its views on the merits of the case, which must be discerned at the stage trial.
Additional Public Prosectuor K Prabhaharan appeared for the State. The de facto complainant was represented by Senior Counsel V Raghavachari. Senior Counsel R Shunmugasundaram appeared for the RS Bharathi.