The Hon’ble High Court of Kerala vide order dated 22nd September 2020, by single bench judge The Hon’ble Mr. Justice Ashok Menon, held that custodial interrogation of the applicant may not be required and he may be released on anticipatory bail under Section 438 Cr.PC for having allegedly committed offences punishable under Section 153A of the IPC.

The prosecution case, in brief, is that the applicant had been propagating his religious thoughts via the YouTube channel & while speaking in favour of Christianity, he has been promoting enmity between different groups on the ground of religion and has been criticizing the preachers of Islam in such a manner that he was spreading disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between person belonging to Islam and Christianity and thus committed an offence punishable under Section 153A IPC.

The applicant states that all his arguments with other religious leaders were based on ideologies and that he had been exercising his right within the Constitutional framework and the freedom of speech guaranteed by the Constitution and that his attempts were nowhere to spread hatred towards any religion. The corresponding video was shared at a specific time on youtube.

The judge therefore stated that, on going through the various materials and the links provided by the applicant, it is seen that the applicant had been propagating Christian religion. There are several debates in comparison of religion with Islam and has also contradicted the propagators of Islamic religion. The Court further held that the custodial interrogation of the applicant may not be necessary as all his debates and statements are available on YouTube upload and there is nothing apart from that to be ascertained by the investigating officers. Hence the applicant is entitled to a pre-arrest bail, particularly considering the present pandemic situation.

Therefore, the applicant released on bail on execution of bond for Rs.50,000/- with the conditions that he shall appear before the investigating officer as and when called and co-operate with the investigation and shall not tamper with evidence or intimidate or influence the witnesses. The Court also laid down a condition that the applicant would not get involved in any similar offence during the pendency of the application.

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Judgment Link – Anil Kumar v. State of Kerala