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Allahabad High Court Denies Quashing Case Against Owais Khan for Derogatory Posts on Shivalinga

Allahabad High Court Denies Quashing Case Against Owais Khan for Derogatory Posts on Shivalinga

On Friday, April 19, the Allahabad High Court declined to dismiss a case against Owais Khan, who stands accused of sharing derogatory remarks and images of a Shivalinga on social media platforms. The court deemed Owais's actions as a deliberate endeavor to cause harm and outrage the religious sentiments of others.

Justice Prashant Kumar, presiding over the bench, remarked, "These actions cannot be dismissed as mere expressions of opinion; rather, they must be acknowledged as deliberate acts of religious vilification. They represent a conscious effort to insult and inflict harm upon the sentiments of a specific community."

The First Information Report (FIR) against Owais was lodged in June 2022 at the Chharra police station in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh. It was filed under Sections 153-A and 295-A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), along with Section 6 of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act.

Owais filed a plea under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) before the high court, seeking to annul the trial court's order and all associated proceedings. His legal representative argued that Owais was wrongly accused, citing the hacking of his social media account. Furthermore, they contended that even if the comment was indeed posted, it didn't amount to an offense.  Owais's counsel asserted that the comment was innocuous and made without any intention to offend the religious sentiments of any community.

Emphasizing that Owais' actions aimed to mock and ridicule the religious beliefs of others, the court underscored the judiciary's responsibility to send a clear message that such behavior will not be condoned and will face appropriate legal repercussions.

Additionally, the court outlined Article 51A of the Indian Constitution, which defines the fundamental duties of every citizen. This article underscores the responsibility of citizens to cultivate an atmosphere of mutual understanding and respect for diverse religious beliefs and identities, as the court highlighted.

Concluding the matter, court held that this matter was not a case of hypersensitivity, rather "a matter concerning the sanctity and reverence attached to religious symbols by individuals who hold them divine".

The court expressed the opinion that in the present case, it couldn't be asserted prima facie that no offense was committed by Owais. Furthermore, the court noted that this case did not fall within the parameters set by the Supreme Court under which the inherent powers granted under Section 482 of the CrPC could be exercised.

Consequently, the court dismissed Owais' petition while clarifying that any remarks made in the order would not impede the trial process. The trial court would continue its proceedings based solely on the merits of the case.

Case Title: Owais Khan v. State of U.P. and Another

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