The Allahabad High Court has granted bail to Faisal Khan, who was arrested for offering namaaz on the premises of the Nand Baba temple in Mathura district.
The court however, directed Khan not to use the social media till the conclusion of the trial.
Justice Siddharth allowed the bail application observing that “having considered the material on record, larger mandate of the Article 21 (Protection of life and personal liberty) of the Constitution of India and the dictum of apex court in the case of Dataram Singh Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh and another, reported in (2018) 3 SCC 22 and without expressing any opinion on the merits of the case, applicant can be released on bail”.
In Dataram Singh’s case, the Supreme Court had held that “grant of bail is a general rule and putting a person in jail or in a prison or in correction home during trial is an exception and presumption of innocence, i.e. person is believed to be innocent until found guilty, is fundamental postulate of criminal jurisprudence. It is not necessary to go into the correctness or otherwise of the allegations made against the accused as this is a subject matter to be dealt with by the trial judge”.
On November 1, an FIR was registered against Khan under Sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups) and other sections of the IPC at the Barsana police station in Mathura.
It was alleged that Khan and co-accused Chand Mohammad had offered namaaz on the temple premises without the consent of the priest.
Photographs of the incident went viral on social media. Khan was also accused of receiving foreign funds.
His counsel argued that the applicant is a social activist, who has revived the ‘Khudai Khidmatgar’ movement and is working for maintaining communal harmony for the past 25 years.
It was in this connection that he undertook a ‘yatra’ to visit temples. Khan was offered ‘prasad’ and lunch by the temple’s chief priest, who also bestowed blessings on him as is clear from the photographs, the counsel said.
“The applicant had no intention to disturb the communal harmony of the society and he did not enter the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, rather he offered namaaz outside the temple with the permission of the priest as is clear from the viral photographs,”he added.
After hearing arguments, the court granted bail and directed Khan to cooperate in trial and not to tamper with prosecution witnesses.