BY- ATLURI SRI VIDYA
On 6th October the Gauhati High Court granted Bail for an appellant who was accused of harbouring terrorism and hurting religious sentiments with the Facebook post that says “Taliban in Afghanistan are not terrorists”. The court has granted a bail petition on the basis that the content of the Facebook post cannot be considered a criminal offence on its own and is not a cognizable offence.
In this case, Justice Shivam Upon who was a single judge has observed that there is nothing incriminating against Maulana Fazlul Karim Qasimi of Darrang district, Assam, besides a post on Facebook from his personal account hence the court has granted bail.
On August 20, Qasimi was detained under the Indian Penal Code’s Sections 120B/153A(1)/153B(1)(a) and (C)/298/505(1)(b)/505(1)(C)/505(2), as well as Section 39 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. Since then, he has been detained.
Justice Shivam has upheld that “Although it is believed that the petitioner (seeking the bail) is indeed the author of the Post on Facebook, it is uncertain whether such contents therein alone would constitute a cognizable offence in the absence of further damning elements.” “In light of these observations, I believe that further custodial detention of the applicant would be inappropriate in this situation,”
The counsel of Qasimi’s has brought to the notice of the court that there was another accused, who had been detained for expressing a similar opinion about cognizable offence , had previously been granted bail on September 23, opening the way for Qasimi’s bail.
However, it is evident that Assam Police had arrested the convicted unfairly with major charges with just expressing a view on such a present worldwide problem, the degree to which the influence of India is still unknown.
Even though the author about such posts was mistaken in their presumptions, it is doubtful that they are guilty of the major offences ( cognizable offence ) for which they have been accused. Then again, editorials and opinion-makers inside the media could get away with expressing identical ideas, perhaps with more complexity than the accused’s Facebook posts.