The Allahabad High Court has stayed the arrest of a man who, while taking part in a protest against the alleged Hathras gang-rape case, had reportedly said that the ‘Chief Minister of UP is a man of thick skin’.
A division bench comprising Justice Anjani Kumar Mishra and Justice Shekhar Kumar Yadav, while hearing a writ petition filed by Neeraj Kishor Mishra of Kasganj district, directed the state government to file its reply in four weeks and directed to list this case after six weeks.
The allegation made in the first information report (FIR) was that the man had made the comment during the protests, accusing the police of being inactive. It is further alleged that during the protest, the petitioner had said that ‘the Chief Minister of UP is a man of thick skin.’
The FIR further said that the petitioner was a history-sheeter and his arm licence had already been cancelled.
The FIR was lodged against the petitioner on December 11, 2020 under sections 153-B (2) (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), 505 (2) (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) at the Patiyali police station of Kasganj district.
During the court proceedings, the counsel for the petitioner submitted that in a democratic country, agitation against a ruling party is the constitutional right of leaders of opposition and, therefore, agitation of the petitioner, on the issue of rape of a girl of ‘Balmiki Samaj’ cannot be termed as hatred or ill-will between different religious racial, hence, no offence under Section 153 -B (2) and Section 505 (2) I.P.C. is made out.
While observing that ‘the matter requires consideration’, the court stayed the arrest of the petitioner but made it clear that it has not stayed the investigation, hence it would go on.