[Case Brief] Arvinder Singh v/s State of Punjab – Punjab & Haryana High Court

Case NameArvinder Singh @ Ghogha vs. State of Punjab
Case NumberCRM-M No 43622 of 2017
CourtPunjab & Haryana High Court
BenchJustice Sudip Ahluwalia
Decided on June 01, 2018
Relevant Act/Sections1) Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973- Section 439

2) Indian Penal Code, 1860- Section 121/121-A

3) Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967- Section 10/13
Author of the case briefAditya Gor

Brief facts and procedural history-

The petitioner is alleged to be involved in the acts of sharing of seditious/communally sensitive or hateful posts on Social Media and thus committing the offence of waging or attempting or abetting the waging of War against the Govt. of India.

An FIR dated 24.05.2016 under sections 121/121-A of the IPC and section 10/13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 was registered at Police Station, Rahon. Subsequently, the petitioner was arrested on 25.05.2016.

The present application under section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is filed by the petitioner seeking regular bail in the said FIR.

The Issue before the court-

Whether or not the bail can be granted in the said factual matrix of the case?

Arguments advanced-

Submission of the Petitioner-

  • That the charges framed against him are not established from the prosecution material during the investigation. (Reference made to Nazir Khan and others vs. State of Delhi 2003 SCC (Crl.) 2033 & Balwant Singh and another vs. State of Punjab AIR 1995 SC 1785)
  • It has been contended that the acts of posting objectionable/allegedly seditious material on social media, such as Facebook, or of having received some money from abroad, for distributing Pamphlets, or sending booklets abroad meant to convey the objective of securing “purity” or “non-servility” of the ‘Sikh Panth’ which cannot amount to waging or attempting or abetting or conspiring to wage war against the Govt. of India, nor render the petitioner liable for any serious offences even under the Unlawful Activities (prevention) Act, 1967.
  • That in any case, the petitioner has already undergone detention in excess of two years till date, on account of which his further detention till indefinite period is not justified.

Submission of the State-

  • The state has drawn the attention of the Court to the offence u/s 122 of the IPC, which is also contained in Chapter VI along with the offences u/ss 121 and 121-A of the IPC, for which the petitioner has been actually charged.
  • It was submitted that even collecting men, and not necessarily arms and ammunition themselves or otherwise preparing in any manner to wage war with the intention of either waging or being prepared to wage war against the Government of India without any actual violence itself is an offence.
  • A large number of documents presented by the state would show that the petitioner is not only involved in propaganda and inciting people to resort to violence with the objective of waging war against the Govt. of India. This incitement was done not only by pasting pamphlets but also by posting on Social media/Facebook account which is accessible to innumerable people both in India and Worldwide. The incitement of violence was for the purpose of inciting to establish a state of “Khalistan”.

The ratio of the Court-

Some of the relevant post attributed to the Petitioner’s account undoubtedly reveals overt incitement to violence for the purpose of establishing the state of “Khalistan”. It has also been observed by the evidence placed by the State that several persons are active on the Social Media with the same objective simultaneously. Further apart from the documents presented by the State, there are Plethora of documents drawn up by way of Cyber Tracking of the Petitioner’s communications with the head of Terrorist Organization.

Decision held-

It was therefore safely held that the Petitioner by way of collecting ‘men’, with the intention of either waging or being prepared to wage war against the Government of India, would be liable under section 122 of the IPC, which is punishable at par with section 121-A of IPC itself, for which he is already facing trial. The punishment in such an event would extend to imprisonment for life.

For these reasons, the bail application of the petitioner is rejected.