Citizens have duty to ensure acts don’t instigate, promote communal hatred: Delhi HC
New Delhi, Aug 18 (PTI) Ensuring peace and harmony is the most sacred duty of not only the law enforcement agencies and courts but citizens also have the duty to ensure that their acts do not instigate and promote communal hatred or ill-will, the Delhi High Court has said.
Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma, while refusing anticipatory bail to a person in a case concerning the communal clashes in Jahangirpuri earlier this year, stated that all citizens have the fundamental right to personal liberty but the same is subject to duties that are cast upon them.
The court opined that the present accused, who allegedly attempted to disturb the communal harmony of the area by trying to create a rift between two communities, did not cooperate with the investigation and was thus not entitled to anticipatory bail or claim infringement of his fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.
Violent clashes broke out in Delhi’s Jahangirpuri on April 16 between two groups during a Hanuman Jayanti procession that left eight police personnel and a civilian injured.
The court noted that there were grave allegations against the accused that deeply scar the communal fabric of the society and it was a “strange paradox” that in spite of claiming to be the area in charge of the “Aman (peace) Committee”, the accused did not join investigation for offences which defeated the very purpose and aim of the committee.
“Ensuring peace and harmony in the country and communities is the most sacred duty of not only the law enforcing agencies and the courts but duty has been cast on every citizen of this country that they should maintain peace and harmony and ensure that their acts do not instigate and promote communal hatred or ill-will,” said the court in its order dated August 17.
“No doubt, the fundamental right of personal liberty has been granted to every citizen of this country. However, the same is subject to duties which are in turn cast upon every citizen….An individual who is not cooperating with the investigation agencies to ascertain whether he partook in such nefarious activities, in my opinion, is not entitled to anticipatory bail or claim infringement of his fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution,” the court added.
The court noted that the applicant was named by one of the eyewitnesses as one of the perpetrators involved in the riots and incriminating material used in the riots has been recovered from the terrace of his house and the investigation cannot be allowed to be thwarted by such accused and his custodial interrogation was warranted.
“The conduct of the applicant/accused was allegedly an attempt to disturb the communal harmony of the area by trying to create a rift between two communities. The Court has to note that these are grave allegations of acts which taking advantage of the fact of the eve of the festival of one community deeply scars the communal fabric of the society,” the court noted.
“In view of the above facts and circumstances of the case, I am of the considered view that no ground is made out for exercising discretion of grant of anticipatory bail to the accused/applicant. Therefore, the application moved on behalf of the accused/applicant stands dismissed” it ordered.