Chhattisgarh HC refuses to lead FIR recording

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The High Court of Chhattisgarh on Monday refused to order the registration of an FIR against a man, Sohan Potai, who allegedly made hate speech against the Christian religion.

The bench of Judge Narendra Kumar Vyas, however, gave the applicant the freedom to apply to the first class judicial magistrate having territorial jurisdiction over the place of the offense for the lodging of a complaint under Article 156 (3) of Cr. PC or article 200 of the Cr.PC

The case in brief

The chairman of the Chhattisgarh Christian Forum (petitioner) claimed to have received a video in January 2021 via social media in which a Sohan Potai (respondent # 9) gave a public speech, in which he spoke out against the Christian religion and attempted to provoke the general public against the followers of the Christian religion.

Subsequently, the chairman of the petitioners’ forum filed an application with the head of the station, Khamhardih, district – Raipur, for the registration of the FIR against Potai.

It has been alleged that Potai gave an inflammatory speech because of which people began to threaten the Christian faithful, commit crimes and destroy their household goods with the aim of causing the Christian faithful to stop continuing Christianity.

The petitioner also lodged a complaint with the collector, Sukma on 25.11.2020 reiterating the same facts.

Before the Court, the applicant’s lawyer referred to certain complaints lodged by various persons concerning violent incidents which allegedly took place as a result of the instigation of the hate speeches made by Potai (against whom the applicant requested the recording of the FIR).

State response

The State, in its response to the Court, that Respondent No. 9 (Potai) did not say anything against the Christian religion or utter any hate speech against the Christian religion.

It was also said that statements by the pastor and another member of the Catholic Church in Sukma were also recorded and that an alleged video was also shown several times in front of them, but they said he did not There had been no negative remarks against Christianity and no tampering with the video. had been done.

Therefore, it was argued that no recognizable offense had been established.

Furthermore, with regard to the complaints lodged by certain persons, it was argued that these complaints are not related to Respondent No.9 and rather relate to other wrongdoers and that, in said complaints, appropriate action has been taken against them.

Observations of the Court

Referring to affidavits from 30 to 40 people alleging that Respondent # 9 made hate speech, the Court immediately observed the following:

It is a fact that must be sought. This Court cannot visualize whether these persons were present or not at the time of the public meeting. The authenticity and accuracy of the allegations made in the affidavits can only be reviewed by the court of first instance… The Honorable Supreme Court has repeatedly rejected the filing of such an application for registration of FIR. “

Furthermore, regarding the incidents that had been committed against some people who adhere to Christianity, the Court noted that the FIR has already been registered and that the cases are still being investigated.

Therefore, members of the Christian community are harassed, cannot be tried by this Court, the Court observed.

Finally, the Court ruled on the summons request by allowing the applicant to apply to the first class court of judicial magistrates having territorial jurisdiction over the place of the offense if he deemed it appropriate and necessary for the filing of the offense. ” a complaint under article 156 (3) of the Cr.PC or article 200 of the Cr.PC

In turn, ordered the Court, the magistrate will follow the procedure prescribed under the provisions of the Cr.PC

Case title – Chhattisgarh Christian Forum through the President, Arun Pannalal c. State of Chhattisgarh and others

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