RSS Leader Cannot be Subjected to Coercion for Allegedly Demeaning Muslim Women: High Court

The state has been ordered by the Karnataka High Court to refrain from using coercion against Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat, the leader of the RSS, for his alleged remarks made on December 24 in Srirangapatna that denigrated Muslim women.

Judge Rajesh Rai’s vacation bench, which considered Bhat’s petition, sent notices to the state and the petitioner on Thursday and instructed the State Public Prosecutor to refrain from using coercion until the next hearing date. As a result, the case’s arrest of Bhat is on hold.

Senior attorney Arun Shyam, who represented Bhat, contended that the case was driven by politics and that the RSS leader had only made statements that were allowed by the freedom of speech.

Social worker Najma Nazeer filed the complaint, and the police in Srirangapatna arrested Bhat under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 294 (dealing with uttering obscene words in a public place), 509 (word, gesture, or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on the basis of religion), 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class), 295A (Deliberate & malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), and 298 (deliberate hurting of religious feelings).

In the meantime, after Bhat submitted information regarding his health, the III Additional District & Sessions Judge in Mandya granted him bail in the Srirangapatna case.

A cardiovascular surgery was performed on Bhat on April 5, 2022. The Sessions Court acknowledged that the petitioner’s claim that he has serious cardiac health problems is valid, and it granted Bhat anticipatory bail based on previous rulings by the Supreme Court.

He was instructed to provide a surety for the same amount as well as a personal bond for Rs 2 lakh.

As per the relevant provisions of the CrPC, the Sessions Court made it clear that the investigator is free to question the subject.

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