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“Feeling Of Hurt By Individual Cannot…”: Court Order On Professor’s Bail

New Delhi:

A Delhi University professor who was arrested on Friday night over a social media post that appeared to question claims of a ‘Shivling’ found inside Varanasi’s Gyanvapi mosque complex, has been granted bail by a court in Delhi.

Ratan Lal, a history professor with Delhi University’s Hindu College, is accused of promoting enmity between groups on grounds of religion and committing “acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony”.

Here’s what the bail order says:

The feeling of hurt felt by an individual cannot represent the entire group or community and any such complaint regarding hurt feelings has to be seen in its context considering the entire spectrum of facts/circumstances.

The accused shall strictly refrain from posting any social media posts or interviews regarding the controversy which resulted in the present FIR.

It is clear that the post of the accused is speculative in nature with regard to a structure/symbol which as of now is not accessible in public domain. When considered in the aforesaid context, the post of the accused may appear to be a failed attempt at satire regarding a controversial subject which has backfired, resulting in the present FIR.

It is observed that Indian Civilization is one of the oldest in the world and known to be tolerant and accepting to all religions.

The feeling of hurt felt by an individual cannot represent the entire group or community and any such complaint regarding hurt feelings has to be seen in its context considering the entire spectrum of facts

For another person, the same post can appear to be shameful but may not incite the feeling of hatred towards another community. Similarly. different persons may consider the post differently without being enraged and may in fact feel sorry for the accused to have made an unwanted comment without considering the repercussions.

It is true that the accused did an act which was avoidable considering the sensibilities of persons around the accused and the public at large. However, the post, though reprehensible, does not indicate an attempt to promote hatred between communities.

The anxiety of police can be understood as the police is tasked to maintain peace and order and at the slightest hint of unrest would come into action to prevent the situation from going out of hand.

However, the court has to employ higher standards while considering the need to send a person to custody. The present accused is a person of good repute with no criminal antecedent and there is no likelihood of the accused fleeing.


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