Supreme Court grants interim bail to Indore Gov't Law College professor

A bench of Justices AS Bopanna and Dipankar Datta granted anticipatory bail to Professor Mirza Moziz Beg
File photo of Supreme Court | (Pic: Express)
File photo of Supreme Court | (Pic: Express)

The Supreme Court, on April 26, granted anticipatory bail to Mirza Moziz Beg, an assistant professor at Indore's Government Law College, in relation to an FIR registered against him for allegedly promoting enmity and hatred. The accusation cropped up after an alleged "Hinduphobic" book was found in the college library during Beg's tenure there.

A bench of Justices AS Bopanna and Dipankar Datta granted anticipatory bail to Beg, who was represented by Advocate Aljo K Joseph. The professor had approached the top court challenging an order of the Madhya Pradesh High Court which had rejected his anticipatory bail application, as per a report by ANI.

Beg has denied all the charges levelled against him, saying the book was bought into the college in 2014, long before he joined the college on a contractual basis or when he was engaged as a permanent member of the faculty. The book has been a part of the master's curriculum for more than 18 years and taught to students specialising in Criminal Law across Madhya Pradesh, he added in his plea.

"Academic freedom and a book published by someone in 2014 cannot be the basis of an FIR when the petitioner has no connection or remote knowledge of the book," Beg had contended. In December 2022, the top court granted protection from arrest to the college principal Professor Inamur Rahman in the same case.

The state's Bhawarkuwan police had booked Rahman and Beg along with Farhat Khan, the author of the controversial book Collective Violence and Criminal Justice System and its publisher (Amar Law Publication) on December 2, based on a complaint for alleged objectionable content. The complaint stated the content of the book is based upon false and baseless facts, anti-national, intended to harm the public peace, the integrity of the nation, and religious cordiality.

Following this, massive protests were staged on the college campus. Thereafter, Rahman, Beg and three other faculty members faced disciplinary action. Rahman was forced to resign from the post of principal. Rahman and Beg were suspended with immediate effect, while the services of the other faculty members were terminated.

On February 3, the apex court while issuing notice to the State of Madhya Pradesh on Beg's plea granted him interim protection against arrest. Earlier, when the Madhya Pradesh government's counsel informed the top court that the state intended to challenge the High Court order, Chief Justice DY Chandrachud had expressed surprise.

"State must do some more serious stuff. He is a College Principal. Why you are arresting him? A book is found in the library which is said to have some communal undertones. Therefore he is seeking to be arrested? The book was purchased in 2014. Are you serious?" the CJI had said, as per ANI.

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