Sonal Bhargava | Edited by Prabhat Bandhulya
P.C. George, a senior politician, has petitioned the Kerala High Court for regular bail in the first hate speech case where the Magistrate had cancelled his bail the day before. The police arrested him last night after his bail was revoked, and he was put in judicial custody. The issue stems from a speech he gave as part of the Ananthapuri Hindu Maha Sammelan, in which he claimed that tea laced with impotence-inducing medications was sold to non-Muslims in Muslim-run restaurants in order to make people infertile to grab control of the country. The Thiruvananthapuram First Class Judicial Magistrate Court revoked George's release, recognizing the prosecution's claim that he broke one of his bail conditions, which was not to make any hate speeches while on bail. The Court also ruled that the jurisdictional police had the authority to detain him. He was taken into custody and produced before the Judicial First Class Magistrate, who granted him bail under tight terms. This was, however, cancelled the day before yesterday. The petition, filed by Advocate Sasthamangalam S Ajithkumar, claimed that the Magistrate should have remembered that the grant of bail and the cancellation of bail are on separate and distinct grounds and that the Court below should not have cancelled the bail unless there was a special and extraordinary compelling circumstance. He claims that he has only made a statement in compliance with Article 19 of the Constitution, which guarantees freedom of expression. As a result, it has been maintained that he did not break any bail conditions and did not make any contentious remarks, as the prosecution claims. The appeal further claims that the High Court, in giving temporary protection to the petitioner, was prima facie convinced that there were no grounds for an immediate arrest in the matter, and that the petitioner was strictly adhering to the interim protection order.