The Court, while rejecting the plea, observed that the contents of the post may promote or has the likelihood to promote hatred between different communities.
On Tuesday, the Allahabad High Court dismissed a professor's anticipatory bail appeal after he allegedly posted an inappropriate and vulgar post on Facebook regarding Union Minister Smriti Irani (Dr. Shaharyar Ali v. State of UP).
While denying the appeal, single-judge Justice JJ Munir said that the contents of the post may encourage or have the potential to encourage animosity amongst different populations.
"In the prima facie opinion of this Court, looking to the fact that the applicant is a senior teacher in a college and a Head of Department, conduct of this kind prima facie does not entitle him to the indulgence of anticipatory bail. In the entirety of the circumstances, this Court does not find it to be a fit case to grant anticipatory bail. The application for anticipatory bail is hereby rejected," the Court ordered.
The Facebook post was also shared by the co-accused in the crime, Huma Naqvi, and the contents of the post may "promote or in all likelihood (have the tendency) to promote ill-will or enmity amongst various populations," according to the Court. Ali was accused of putting up the obscene post by a Zila Mantri of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Ali was charged with charges under Section 505(2) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 67A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, and a First Information Report (FIR) was filed against him. Ali's lawyer said that the post was made by someone else after they hacked into his Facebook account. Ali later expressed his apologies and renounced the message, according to reports.
He also claimed that he was falsely implicated in the crime at the behest of the informant, a Bharatiya Janata Party Zila Mantri, out of animosity.
It was also claimed that the abovementioned post was shared on social media and contained a rumour that had the potential to foment animosity amongst religious groups, an act prohibited under Section 505(2) of the Indian Penal Code.
The court rejected the bail application stating "the question whether the applicant did actually post the offending and obscene post regarding the Minister is to be prima facie accepted at this stage, as there is no material to show that the applicant's account was, in fact, hacked."
The fact that Ali posted his apology on the same account, according to the Court, suggested that he was still in charge of the account.
The plea was dismissed for these reasons. The Court, on the other hand, stated that it is not passing judgement on the case's merits and that Ali is free to surrender and seek ordinary bail.