The Case of Surya Kant Bali


S/V. Surya Kant Bali etc.
U/S. 153-A/295-A of IPC.
P.S. Con. Place.
FIR No. 691/88.


By this common order i shall be disposing of question of charge in two cases arising out of FIR No. 691 of 1988 and 742/86 both of Police Station Con. Place as both the cases pertain to Section 153-A IPC. They raise common question of scope of applicability of Section 153-A IPC.

In FIR No. 691 of 1988 accused No. 1 is alleged to have written article "Sampardayikta: Ham Chaalis Varsh Pichhe Lot Aayen Hai".1 The same was published in magazine Weekly Hindustan dt. 21-6-87 to 27-6-87 of which accused No. 2 and 3 are printers and publishers. The said article is alleged to contain material which is likely to promote religious enmity. In FIR 742 of 1986 accused No. 3 is alleged to have written an article titled "Hindu Backlash" which is published in Magazine Weekend Review dt. 22-6-86 to 28-6-88. Accused No. 1 and 2 are Editor and Publisher of the said magazine. The said article is likely to promote religious enmity.

2) I have heard arguments at length for the purpose of charge. The first and foremost contention of the Ld. defence counsel is that articles have to be read as a whole and not in piecemeal. The prosecution cannot be allowed to pick up few lines from here and there and make out the desired objectionable material from it. They further submitted that the article should be one which aims at or is intended at promoting hatredness between the two religions. In support of the submission reliance has been placed on AIR 1943 Patna 382 in which it was held that Section 153-A is not intended to apply to the case of honest agitator. If the writer is expressing views which he holds honestly, however wrong they may be, and has no malicious intention, he cannot be brought within the mischief of Section 153-A. In AIR 1927 Allahabad 649 Full Bench, it was held that in countries where there is religious freedom certain latitude must of necessity be conceded in respect of free expression of religious opinion together with a certain measure of liberty to criticise religious belief of others. In 1957 SCR 860 it was held that insults to religion offered unwittingly or carelessly or without any deliberate or malicious intention to outrage religious feelings of that class do not come within the ambit of Section 153-A. In 1983 CRLJ 1446 full bench, it was held that it will be very difficult for the State to contend that narration of history would promote violence, enmity or hatred. If such contention is accepted, a day will come when that part of history which is unpalatable to a particular religion will have to be kept in cold storage on the pretext that the publication of such history would constitute an offence punishable U/S. 153-A IPC. In AIR 1939 Rangoon 199, it was held that U/S. 295-A IPC the prosecution must prove more than U/S. 298 IPC. They must show insult for the sake of insulting and with intention which springs from malice and malice alone. Similar view was taken in 1971 Criminal Law journal 1773 Allahabad full bench, AIR 1971 Bombay 56 special bench, AIR 1980 Allahabad 149 full bench and AIR 1965 Patna 393.

3) I have perused both the articles in the light of the law laid down in the aforesaid judgments and do not find that in either case the writer had any malicious intention. In the first case the writer has narrated the history of past events and in the second case the writer has expressed his opinion.

4) For the foregoing reasons, the accused persons are discharged. File be consigned to the record room.

Dated: 5/5/90.

(O.P. Gupta)
Metropolitan Magistrate:
New Delhi.



1 Translation: Communalism: We have relapsed to forty years ago.


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