The Allahabad High Court has upheld the invocation of National Security Act, 1980 (NSA) against the accused who allegedly insulted the Hindu Scripture ‘Ram Charit Manas’ in front of the public.

The Lucknow Bench was deciding a Habeas Corpus Writ Petition filed by a man named Devendra Pratap Yadav against whom the FIR was registered.

A Division Bench comprising Justice Sangeeta Chandra and Justice Narendra Kumar Johari observed there is a possibility of loss of life and property and the development work of the state being hampered.

Advocate Devendra Upadhyay represented the petitioner while Advocate Pooja Singh represented the respondent.

In this case, an FIR was registered against the accused under Sections 120-B, 142, 143, 153-A, 295, 295-A, 298, 504, 504 (2), and 506 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The allegations are: On January 29, 2023, as per the pre-planned plan and as part of a criminal conspiracy, in support of the derogatory remarks made by Swami Prasad Maurya towards Ram Charit Manas and at his instigation, the accused along with others insulted the said Hindu scripture. The copies of the said book were torn down, stomped and people were given kick-started prayer in public places and slogans were raised in support of the said Saint. Indecent remarks were made against the followers which caused anger among the followers and people gathered. Hence, the accused along with others was arrested by the police under the NSA. By late night, the video of the act committed by the accused and his associates went viral everywhere, due to which an atmosphere of sensation and tension prevailed in the police station area. There were chances of rioting and the application of the accused presented in the Magistrate Court was rejected. He also filed a bail application before the Sessions Court which was accepted.

The High Court in view of the above facts noted, “There is also a possibility that if the accused get released on bail, they will again indulge in similar criminal acts and the situation of public order will be disturbed again. … Under the statement given by the accused during the investigation, under section 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, he has admitted that "we [people] have torn the copies of Ram Charit Manas"

The Court further said that the accused along with his associates, in a public place, in broad daylight, read from Ram Charit Manas, a religious text related to the events in the life of Lord Ram, worshiped by the majority section of Samarju under their religious beliefs and faith.

“It is natural for a person to be insulted in such a sarcasm-like manner; it is natural for a person to feel angry and resentful; a situation of religious frenzy and anger can be seen in a person's mind, especially in the present situation where mobile phones and social media are available.”, it also noted.

Accordingly, the High Court dismissed the petition.

Cause Title- Devendra Pratap Yadav v. State of U.P. (Neutral Citation: 2024:AHC-LKO:1120-DB)

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