The Madhya Pradesh High Court has rejected the bail application of Congress leader and former state minister Raja Pateria, arrested last month for his controversial “be ready to kill Modi to save the Constitution” remark about the prime minister.
A bench of Justice Sanjay Dwivedi in its order on Wednesday said there was no occasion for the applicant, who is a public leader, to use such a derogatory language for the prime minister of the country.
”It is not expected from the public leader to use foul language disparaging the image of a leader of high-up-place, like President and Prime Minister and engendering consternation in the society”, the court said while dismissing Pateria’s bail plea.
Pateria was arrested on December 13, 2022 from his residence in Hata town of Damoh district and is currently in judicial custody. A court in Pawai town of Panna district had refused to grant him bail following which his lawyers approached the high court.
In a video that had surfaced on social media, Pateria could be heard telling Congress workers at a meeting in Pawai, ”Be ready to kill Modi. Kill in the sense of defeating him…..Modi will end the elections. Modi will divide on the basis of religion, caste and language. The future of Dalits, tribals and minorities is in danger. If you want to save the Constitution, then be ready to kill Modi. Kill in the sense of defeating him.” An FIR was registered against Pateria under various Indian Penal Code Sections including 451 (house-trespass), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 505 (statements conducting public mischief), 506 (criminal intimidation), 115 (abetment of offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life if offence not committed) and 117 (abetting commission of offence by the public).
The offence of house trespass was included in the FIR as the meeting of Congress workers had allegedly been held at the Pawai PWD guest house without permission.
The state Congress had termed Pateria’s remarks as highly objectionable. Opposing the bail plea in the high court, the prosecution said it is alleged that applicant made a ”speech overtly using filthy and intimidating language conspiring to commit murder of the prime minister of the country and further instigated the persons of minorities in the wake of their religion, caste and language.” The prosecution opposed the bail application and prayed for its dismissal, saying it is highly unexpected from a political leader to ”overtly disparage” the image of a rival leader that too of the prime minister of India.
The prosecution submitted that there are statements of various eyewitnesses available on record, which crystalise the unruly act of the applicant and further there are video-clippings which clearly depict the applicant has eloquently made a speech using words to provoke other persons of minorities, castigating the image and conspiring murder of the prime minister.
Justice Dwivedi said he had given anxious consideration to the submissions made on behalf of rival parties by considering the overall facts and circumstances and perusing the integral part of case diary and watching the video contained in a CD.
However, the sanctity of video-clipping cannot be tested at this stage and treating the same to be true would not be proper for consideration at the stage of bail, the court said.
Obviously, there was no occasion for the applicant, who is a public leader, to use such a derogatory language for the Prime Minister of the country abetting the mob to commit a crime. Supposedly, the public leader should be vigilant in using the words during their speech, which may distract the minds of his followers/spectators, the HC said in its order.
“Oftentimes, it is noticed that it has become a fashion for some public leaders to seek popularity of the followers without caring for the consequence of deliverance. This practice is not only belittling the image of public leaders in the society but also becoming a cause of increase in criminality in the politics,” it observed.
“It is not expected from the public leader to use foul language disparaging the image of a leader of high-up-place, like President and Prime Minister and engendering consternation in the society,” the court said.
Thus, prima facie looking at the period of incarceration and the manner in which the crime has been committed, the applicant cannot be granted bail as it will give a wrong message to the society, the HC said while dismissing Pateria’s application.