Kerala lawyers, courts on confrontational course
Kerala lawyers, courts on confrontational course

Kochi: The Kerala High Court granted anticipatory bail to an accused allegedly involved in a conspiracy which resulted in the demolition of a film set constructed at Kalady riverside, depicting a Church, at the precincts of the Mahadeva Temple.

The single-judge bench of Justice Ashok Menon has observed that "merely inciting the feelings of one community or group without any reference to any other community or group cannot attract the provisions of section 153A of IPC.'' The allegation, against Pradeep RS, the General Secretary of Antharashtra Hindu Parishad (A.H.P), was that he had published a post on his Facebook page after the incident, admitting his role in the act of demolition by the members of his organisation.

The court said that the essence of the offense under 153A IPC is promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, etc, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony. Real intention to incite one group or community against another is absolutely essential. It is necessary that at least two groups or communities should be involved.

"The comments made by the accused refers only to the Mahadeva temple and not permitting such activities of construction within the precincts of the temple," it said and added that "Prima facie, the offence punishable under 153-A is not attracted to the facts of the case. Dealing with the contention of the accused that the film set is not a house or a place of worship to attract the ingredients of house-trespass under Section 442 IPC." It went on to state that a reading of the aforesaid provision, and in particular the expression in building used as a place for the custody of property, "I am of the view that a film set, though a temporary structure, was being used as a place for the custody of property like generator, etc; which was allegedly stolen." "Since the definition also includes a tent, and does not state that it should be a permanent structure, even a temporary film set would fall within the definition of a house which in this case, can be said to be a structure used for the custody of property. Hence, I have no doubts about Section 454 getting attracted in this case,'' it said.

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