A Gurugram court Friday dismissed the bail plea of Rambhagat Gopal Sharma who is accused of delivering inflammatory speeches at a Mahapanchayat in Pataudi, Haryana. Sharma is the same person who was caught brandishing a pistol at Jamia students during the anti CAA protests last year.
The Court said if Sharma was allowed to move freely and to indulge in such kinds of activities, the very existence of communal harmony may be disturbed and that would give a wrong message that these types of acts are acceptable in the society.
Judicial Magistrate Mohammad Sageer, rejecting his bail plea said, “Though, at the stage of granting bail, a detailed examination of evidence and elaborate documentation of the merit of the case need not be undertaken. There is a need to indicate in such orders reasons for prima-facie concluding why bail was being granted particularly where the accused is charged of having committed a serious offence. Any order devoid of such reasons would suffer from non-application of mind.”
Gopal was arrested after he gave an instigating speech in an event where he urged his audience to abduct young girls and kill the followers of a particular religious community. Judge Sageer observed that these speeches laid the groundwork for ostracism, segregation, deportation, genocide and so on.
Also Read: Right to dissent without violence and hate speech part of freedom – TheLeaflet
“Accused Gopal Sharma while addressing the mob can be seen instigating the mob for doing unlawful acts. He can be seen instigating the abduction of girls of a particular community and their forceful conversion. He seems to be very proud of his antecedents. He even instigated people to kill persons of a particular community and chanted slogans in this regard. Slogans and languages used by him, are clearly offensive and aimed to outrage the religious feelings of one particular group and promote enmity between different groups and religious communities,” the Judge observed.
His defence counsel said, “The case is false and concocted and the applicant has not committed any offence. He has no connection whatsoever with the alleged offence and has been falsely roped in this case. It was further submitted in the bail application that the whole story of the prosecution is cooked up and false and there is no truth in the FIR and the video recording is false and fabricated and the applicant-accused has no concern with the video.”
Justice Sageer dismissed his counsel’s argument that the video clip based on which Gopal had been arrested, was edited. The judge said that Gopal’s other counsel had admitted that during the course of the argument that his client was present in the event from the beginning and the other orators had made such inflammatory speeches as well.
Stating that the safety of a community is more important than the personal liberty of a person Judge said, “Liberty of a citizen is undoubtedly important but this is to be balanced with the security of the community as held by the Hon’ble Apex Court in the case titled as Lt. Col. Prasad Shrikant Purohit vs the State of Maharashtra. A balance is required to be maintained between the personal liberty of the accused and the investigational rights of the agency. It must result in minimum interference with the personal liberty of the accused and the right of the agency to investigate the case.”
Commenting on Gopal, the Judge said that people giving out hate speeches are more inflammatory than the Covid-19 pandemic. Referring to the Pravasi Bhalai Sangathan vs Union of India case in which the Supreme Court held that “ ‘Hate Speech’ is an effort to marginalize individuals based on their membership in a group. It, therefore, has a social impact and causes distress beyond individual group members.
Also Read: After Supreme Court Judgment, We Must Combat Hate Speech at Social and Political Levels – TheLeaflet
Gopal came to the limelight last year when he brandished a gun and shooting a person at Delhi’s Jamia area. He did this to threaten protesting Jamia students in the heavy presence of police and media personnel in 2020.