Read Order: Yuvraj Singh v. State of Haryana and another

Tulip Kanth

Chandigarh, October 12,2021: In a case of alleged use of casteist remarks, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ordered that the petitioner, Yuvraj Singh, upon joining investigation with the investigating officer, if he is sought to be arrested, would be released on interim bail, upon furnishing bail and surety bonds to his satisfaction, till the next date of hearing before this court.

This petition pertains to quashing of an FIR registered at Police Station Hansi, District Hansi, for the alleged commission of offences punishable under the provisions of Sections 153A and 153B of the IPC, read with Section 3 (1) (u) of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention and Atrocities) Act, 1989.

The petitioner’s counsel submitted that what the petitioner intended by using the word in question (bhangi) in the video recording of the conversation between him and his friend, did not in any manner intend to promote feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will against members of the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes, the implication of the word used only being in the context of an inebriated person.

It was contended that in any case there was no mens rea behind the usage of the word, which was used in an absolute casual conversation pertaining to a marriage of a friend who does not belong to a Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe community.

It was also submitted that as regards the provisions of the IPC that the petitioner had been accused of committing offences under, i.e.  Sections 153-A and 153-B of the Code, it was obvious that in the context that the word was used, there was no intention and no promotion of enmity between different groups, on the ground of religion, place of birth, race, residence, language etc., and no act was committed prejudicial to maintenance of harmony (reference to Section 153-A and Section 153-B.

Sate Counsel on the previous date of hearing had referred to the judgment of the Supreme Court in M/s Neeharika Infastructure Pvt. Ltd. vs. State of Maharashtra and others, to submit that the order passed by this court at the time when notice of motion was issued, to the effect that no coercive steps be taken against the petitioner, is an order that this court should not pass, even in terms of the ratio of that judgment.

The Bench of Justice Amol Rattan Singh observed that as regards the order passed by this court on September 15, 2021, directing that no coercive steps be taken against the petitioner, with the Supreme Court, in clause (xvi) of the judgment in M/s Neeharika Infastructures’case (supra) having observed that normally such directions should not issued by this court and the accused should be relegated to apply for anticipatory bail under the provisions of Section 438 of the Cr.P.C., and admittedly the petitioner not having done that so far, but with it seen that the SP herself is seeking only “formal arrest” of the petitioner in terms of Section 18-A(b) of the Act of 1989, the Interim Order had to be modified.

And so the Bench modified the Order to the extent that the petitioner, upon joining investigation with the investigating officer, if he is sought to be arrested, would be released on interim bail, upon furnishing bail and surety bonds to his satisfaction, till the next date of hearing before this court.

The Bench also clarified that if the SP had anything further to say on the issue, with regard to the phrase “formal arrest” used by her in her affidavit, she would file another affidavit clarifying what she meant.

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