Delhi’s Patiala House Court on Wednesday granted bail to former BJP spokesperson Ashwini Upadhyay in connection with a case where anti-Muslim slogans were raised during a protest at Jantar Mantar.

Metropolitan Magistrate Udbhav Kumar Jain granted bail to Upadhyay, an advocate, on a bond of Rs 50,000.

During the hearing, Senior advocate Vikash Singh appeared for Ashwini Upadhyay and said that this is a blatant abuse of power by the Police. Police cannot apprehend anyone indiscriminately. It is an admitted fact that the applicant was present on the spot in the morning and not at the time of the alleged incident relating to hate speech committed u/s 153A IPC.

Ashwani left the spot at or around 11.00 am and reached his home around 12:15 pm in Ghaziabad. He has seen the video personally and on perusal of the said video it can be seen that the hate speech was made after it rained however, the applicant has left the spot even before the rain started, he added Senior Advocate Vikash Singh also submitted that all the offences except for the offence u/s 153 A IPC are bailable.

For the purpose of Section 153A IPC, it is imperative that the hate speech should have been made at the instance of a person or the person should have actively participated in making such remarks which promotes enmity between different groups.

Senior Advocate Sidharth Luthra also appeared for Ashwani Upadhyay and said that the case of the applicant is distinct from the other accused person. The applicant may be a part of the meeting at a particular point in time but that does not imply that he shall be blamed for everything that may have happened in his absence. Hence, the applicant be released.

Senior Advoate Gopal Shankarnarayan also appeared for Ashwini and submitted that the viral videos are now in the public domain and nowhere it can be seen that the applicant was present when the offence u/s 153A IPC was committed. It is further submitted that there is no credible information available with the investigating agency to apprehend. The name of the applicant is being misused by some miscreants due to which the agency had apprehended the applicant.

The Public Prosecutor argued that there is prima facie involvement of Upadhyay in the incident. He urged the Court to look at the sensitivity of the issue, the area of alleged unlawful assembly (near Parliament), and the (Covid-19) timing.

He highlighted that the accused did not have Police permission to assemble and that they paid no heed to the warnings given by the Police officer present on spot. 

A video showing anti-Muslim slogans being raised during a protest at Jantar Mantar here was widely circulated on social media, following which the Delhi Police registered a case in connection with the matter on Monday.

Upadhyay was arrested by the Delhi Police on Tuesday along with Preet Singh, Deepak Singh, Deepak Kumar, Vinod Sharma, and Vinit Bajpai.

On Tuesday, Delhi’s Patiala House court had sent BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay to two days in judicial custody. 

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