DU professor arrested for social media post on Varanasi's Gyanvapi Mosque gets bail 

The court said, “India is a country of more than 130 crore people and any subject can have 130 crore different views and perceptions.” 
This is what the court said | (Pic: Edexlive)
This is what the court said | (Pic: Edexlive)

Professor Ratan Lal, faculty member of Delhi University who was arrested for posting derogatory comments on social media regarding 'Shivling' at Varanasi’s Gyanvapi mosque, was given bail on May 21, Saturday by a city court.

The court said that the objectionable remarks on social media related to claims of a Shivling at Varanasi's Gyanvapi mosque though reprehensible does not indicate an attempt to promote hatred between communities.

The professor was directed to "strictly refrain from posting any social media posts or interviews regarding the controversy which resulted in the present FIR." He was released on conferring a personal bond of Rs 50,000 and one surety of the like amount, as stated in a report by PTI.

Lal was arrested on May 20, Friday night by the Delhi Police under Indian Penal Code sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 295A (deliberate act to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion).

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Siddhartha Malik stated "the feeling of hurt felt by an individual cannot represent the entire group or community and any such complaint regarding hurt feeling has to be seen in its context, considering the entire spectrum of facts and circumstances," as stated in a report by PTI.

Considering the social media post of Lal, who teaches History at the Hindu College, may appear to be a failed attempt at satire regarding a controversial subject that has backfired, resulting in the FlR, the court acknowledged.

The court said, “India is a country of more than 130 crore people and any subject can have 130 crore different views and perceptions.”

“For another person, the same post can appear to be shameful but may not incite the feeling of hatred toward another community. Similarly, different persons may consider the post differently without being enraged and may in fact feel sorry for the accused to have made an unwanted comment without considering the repercussions,” the court added.

“However, the post, though reprehensible, does not indicate an attempt to promote hatred between communities,” the court added.

Being responsive, the judge said, “The present accused is a person of good repute with no criminal antecedent and there is no likelihood of the accused fleeing the course of law. In view of the aforesaid, the court sees no need to send the accused to judicial custody.”

The defence counsel in an argument informed the court that the accused had no intention to hurt any religious feelings of a person or group. He further added that the accused had casually made a light-hearted comment on a matter which was still pending before various courts in the country.

The bail was opposed by the prosecution and they sought his judicial custody saying the Facebook post was “clearly meant to incite hatred between religious groups”.

A Delhi-based lawyer filed a complaint against Lal on Tuesday based on which an FIR was filed.

The complaint by advocate Vineet Jindal alleged that Lal had recently shared a "derogatory, inciting and provocating tweet on the Shivling".

Left-affiliated All India Students Association (AISA) activists on Saturday staged a protest outside Delhi University's Arts Faculty against the arrest of Lal.

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