Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, September 15
Just about a week after an Additional Sessions Judge dismissed Gurdas Maan’s plea in a case registered against him on August 26 for hurting religious feelings of the Sikh community, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday granted interim anticipatory bail to the Punjabi singer. He has been asked to join the investigation within a week.
Justice Avneesh Jhingan made it clear that his custody was not required as nothing is to be recovered. The issue whether the words used by petitioner during stage performance were deliberate/malicious so as to invoke section 295-A of the IPC would be a subject matter of investigation.
Justice Jhingan also made it clear that an artist while performing on stage has the inclination to involve and take the crowd along. The petitioner was a renowned singer and was not a personality who would be able to hide or abscond. Also, no recovery was to be made from him.
Among other things, Maan in his petition had contended the “Sessions Judge was apparently influenced by the show of public outcry, generated by some sections through a sustained campaign”. His counsel, senior advocate R.S. Cheema with Arshdeep Singh Cheema and Tarannum Cheema had added that the settled principles regulating the question of bail were overlooked in an atmosphere projected as surcharged. The statutory parameters and the settled norms through precedents were relegated to the background. “The Judge did not even pause to consider as to whether the investigating agency had asked for custodial interrogation and further made a valid case for the same”.
It was added that the petitioner had deep roots in the society and nothing in his previous conduct during the inquiry would show that he was likely to abscond. Moreover, the alleged objectionable material was already in public domain and nothing was required to be recovered from the petitioner warranting his custodial interrogation.
“Moreover, as a humble Sikh and the sensitive citizen, the petitioner made a widely circulated public apology…. His words ought to be interpreted in the total background of his lifelong devotion to venerable Sikh Gurus and to the principles of Sikhism,” it was added.
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