Published: 04th February 2023
Anticipatory bail given to Indore law college professor by Supreme Court
An FIR was registered against him for allegedly promoting enmity and hatred after an alleged "Hinduphobic" book was found in the library
An anticipatory bail has been granted by the Supreme Court to Dr Mirza Moziz Beg, an assistant professor at Indore's Government Law College. This was in relation to a First Information Report (FIR) that was registered against him for allegedly promoting enmity and hatred after an alleged "Hinduphobic" book was found in the library, as stated in a report by ANI.
On the anticipatory bail plea filed by Dr Beg, a bench of Justices AS Bopanna and Hima Kohli gave notice to the State of Madhya Pradesh. The State government was given three weeks to respond to the top court's request. "Issue notice. In the meanwhile, there shall be interim protection against the petitioner, subject to him diligently participating in the investigation, if required," the apex court stated in its order.
Dr Beg's attorney, Advocate Aljo K Joseph, informed the bench that the police had taken the book itself. "Surprisingly, it is in the LL M syllabus that has been approved by the academic council and the Chancellor [of the university]," he added.
Dr Beg has approached the Supreme Court challenging an of the Madhya Pradesh High Court that denied his request for anticipatory bail. He has denied all the charges made against him, claiming that the book was purchased by the college in 2014, years before he was hired on a permanent basis or a contract basis. He added in his plea that the book has been a required reading for all postgraduate students in the state of Madhya Pradesh who specialise in criminal law for more than 18 years.
"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," Dr Beg has contended, as reported by ANI.
In the same case, the Supreme court granted protection from arrest to Dr Inamur Rahman, the principal of the Government New Law College in Indore, in December of last year. On December 2, 2022, Bhawarkuwan police booked Dr Rahman together with Dr Beg, Dr Farhat Khan, the book's author and publisher, based on a complaint regarding allegedly offensive material in it. According to the complaint, the book "Collective Violence and Criminal Justice System", written by Dr Farhat Khan and published by Amar Law Publication, is anti-national, based on incorrect and baseless facts, and is meant to harm the public peace, the integrity of the nation and religious cordiality.
Dr Rahman, Dr Beg, and three other people faced disciplinary action as a result of the massive protests held on campus. Dr Rahman was forced to resign from his position as principal. This was along with Dr Rahman's resignation and immediate suspension of Dr Beg' and termination of the employment of the three other faculty members involved. 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.
CJI had then told the State's counsel: "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 sought to be arrested? The book was purchased in 2014. Are you serious?" as reported by ANI.