Read Order- Gurdas Maan v. State Of Punjab

LE Staff

Chandigarh, September 16, 2021: In a case wherein it was alleged that the petitioner Gurdas Maan, a renowned Punjabi singer, while performing at the premises of Dera Baba Murad Shah Ji Trust made certain comments which hurt the religious sentiments of a community, the Punjab and Haryana HC has granted interim bail to the petitioner subject to his joining investigation within a week.

The  petitioner had filed this petition under Section 438 of the Cr.P.C. seeking anticipatory bail pertaining to an F.I.R. registered under Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

The F.I.R. was registered by Paramjit Singh Akali, member of Sikh Youth Power of Punjab. The allegations were that the petitioner while performing in 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 a community. His act was against the Sikh Maryada as he recited the hymns of Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji at Marri (Mausoleum).

Mr. R.S. Cheema, counsel for the petitioner,  submitted that no case was made out under Section 295A of IPC as there was no deliberate or malicious intention of the petitioner. It was further submitted that the petitioner has been decorated by various awards for his contribution towards Punjabiat. He is a renowned name so far as his contribution to Punjabi music and devotional music is concerned. The petitioner himself is a devout Sikh.

It was also contended that the petitioner on realizing that his words have hurt the sentiments of a community, uploaded a video apologizing for his conduct. The video was uploaded prior to registration of F.I.R. It was submitted that the investigating officer while appearing before the Additional Sessions Judge, Jalandhar had stated that custodial interrogation is not required, however the contention was not noted in the impugned order.

The Bench of Justice Avneesh Jhingan stated that the issue as to whether words used by the petitioner while performing on the stage were deliberate or malicious, which is a basic necessity for invoking Section 295A IPC, would be subject matter of the investigation.

It was also stated that that an artist while performing on a stage has inclination to take the crowd along with him. No further comment was made at this stage.

The Court was of the opinion that the petitioner is a renowned Punjabi singer. He is not a personality who would be able to hide or abscond himself from investigation or trial. No recovery is to be made, the case is set up on a viral video

While noting at this stage that the basic foundation of democracy is secularism and freedom of expression, the Bench also opined that with the advancement of technology whatever positive social media might have provided but one thing is ensured that each and every act or conduct spreads like a wild fire.

In the impugned order it was observed that petitioner by apologizing has admitted the occurrence. According to Bench, the issue was not about the disputing event, the apology could have been a step by the petitioner to resolve the issue in the nascent stage.

The matter has now been listed on September  30, 2021.

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