Kerala High Court grants interim bail to P.C. George

The Kerala High Court on Monday granted interim bail till Thursday to Kerala Janapaksham chairman and former MLA P.C. George in a case registered in connection with the alleged inflammatory remarks made by him in his speech at a temple festival at Vennala in Kochi.

Justice Gopinath P. granted him interim bail on the condition that he shall not make such controversial statements to the media or in public. The court also made it clear that the bail order would not affect the consideration of the petition moved by the prosecution for cancellation of the bail granted to Mr. George in a similar case registered in Thiruvananthapuram.

He has been slapped with offences under Section 153 (promoting enmity between different groups) and 295 A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the IPC. The prosecution allegation in the case registered by the Palarivattom police in Ernakulam on May 8 was that the speech at the concluding ceremony of ‘Sapthaham’ at the Mahadeva temple, Vennala, Ernakulam was deliberately and maliciously intended to outrage the religious beliefs of the Muslim community.

When the petition came up for hearing, P. Vijayabhanu, counsel for Mr. George, submitted that he was a 71 year old who had served as MLA for 33 years. Besides, he was suffering from various age-related ailments. He would be put to great prejudice if he was not granted anticipatory bail.

Case in capital city

The Director General of Prosecution, while vehemently opposing the grant of anticipatory bail, submitted that Mr. George had violated a condition of the bail granted earlier by the magistrate court in Thiruvananthapuram in a case registered for identical offences. The magistrate court had directed him not to make any controversial statement hurting religious sentiments. However, he made the controversial speech at Vennala, violating the condition.

In fact, the prosecutor had moved the court seeking cancellation of the bail. Therefore, the person who had violated the bail condition was not entitled for anticipatory bail.

George’s petition

Mr. George contended in his petition that by any stretch of imagination, the offences as alleged could not be invoked against him. The prosecution had adopted a pick and choose policy and highlighted certain stray sentences from a 40-minute-long speech before unilaterally declaring them as offensive.

He submitted that he was expressing his anxiety over a negligible percentage of people who were resorting to anti-national and terrorist activities. These are expressions of a patriot who only wanted the integrity of the nation to be kept intact and highlight the need of corrective measures. Many of the observations were based on authentic statistics.

The petition said that custodial interrogation of the petitioner was not necessary in the case. In fact, the investigation was almost over. The petitioner was ready to co-operate with the police investigation.

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Printable version | Jun 26, 2022 1:33:08 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/kerala-high-court-grants-interim-bail-to-pc-george/article65453698.ece