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Background of the Case

  • An FIR was registered by Paramjit Singh Akali, a member of Sikh Youth Power of Punjab, against singer Gurudas Maan.
  • The petitioner (Gurudas Maan), while performing the Urs of Sai Murad Shah Ji at the premises of Dera Baba Murad Shah Ji Trust made certain comments which hurt the religious sentiments of the Sikh Maryada community. He had recited hymns of Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji at Marri (Mausoleum).
  • Section 295A of the IPC was invoked against him. The section addresses the punishment for deliberately or maliciously outraging religious feelings of any class.
  • The Additional Sessions Judge denied the petitioner's plea for interim relief. He then approached the High Court under Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure seeking anticipatory bail.

Arguments by the petitioner

  • The petitioner contended that no case can be made against him under section 295A of the IPC, as he had no deliberate or malicious intent to hurt religious sentiments. Proving that his act was malicious or deliberate was a basic necessity for invoking section 295A.
  • The petitioner has made his name known for his contribution to Punjabi music and devotional music and the petitioner himself is a devout Sikh.
  • Further when the petitioner realised his actions have hurt the sentiments of a community, he uploaded a video apologizing for his conduct. The video was uploaded prior to registration of FIR.

Court’s order

  • The court observed,“the basic foundation of democracy is secularism and freedom of expression”. Subsequently it stated that the advancement of technology and social media had indeed brought benefits, but had also “ensured that each and every act or conduct spreads like a wildfire.”
  • The apology given by the petitioner was seen as a step to resolve the issue at a nascent stage.
  • Considering these facts and circumstances, the court granted interim bail to the petitioner.

Hope you enjoyed reading this. You may now be able to answer the following questions, let us know in the comments section

  • Which acts can be considered as being hurtful to religious sentiments of the people?
  • Can an apology be sufficient to make up for hurting the religious sentiments of the masses or some specific act is required for the purpose ?
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