A Delhi court on Saturday granted bail to Delhi University professor Ratan Lal and observed that his remarks on the shivling (statue of Hindu god Shiva) that was allegedly recovered from the Gyanvapi mosque, in Varanasi, are unlikely to incite feelings of hatred, according to Bar and Bench.
“For another person, the same post can appear to be shameful but may not incite the feeling of hatred towards another community. Similarly, different persons may consider the post differently without being enraged and may in fact feel sorry for the accused to have made an unwanted comment without considering the repercussions,” the order read.
The order further highlighted that the feeling of hurt felt by an individual cannot represent the entire group or community.
Lal, who is a professor of History at Hindu College, in Delhi University, tweeted in response to a Hindu group’s claims, last week, that a shivling was found at the Gyanvapi mosque, and wrote, “If this is a shivling, then it seems like Lord Shiva also underwent circumcision.”
As a result, Lal was arrested on Friday night by officers of north Delhi’s Cyber Police Station after an FIR was registered, on May 17, by a Delhi-based lawyer.
In his complaint, Vineet Jindal said that Lal’s remarks were “instigating and provoking”.
Lal was booked under Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 295 A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code for a Facebook post.
In its order, however, the court noted that the “presence or absence of intention to create animosity/hatred by words is subjective in nature as is the perception of the recipient who reads/hears a statement.”
Lal was granted bail with a surety amount of Rs 50,000, and is directed to refrain from posting anything regarding the case on social media.
Apart from being a professor, Lal is also the founder and editor-in-chief of the media channel Ambedkar Nama.
Last week, Lal also tweeted that his 20-year-old son received threats on Facebook Messenger after his post on the issue.