(1) The petitioner, Vidya Sagar, resident of Patiala, was arrested on 28th August, 1961, on the allegation that on 16th August, 1961, he had made a speech in the Gurdawara Sri Dukh Niwaran Sahib, Patiala, which disclosed an offence under section 6(2) of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 30 of 1960. The case against him was registered at the Civil Lines Police Station, Patiala, on 19th of August, 1961m vide first information report No. 83. During all these days the case has not been put in Court and the petitioner has been in custody. Now, he applies for being admitted to bail.
(2) It is contended on behalf of the petitioner that even on the allegations contained in the first information report no offence under Section 6(1) of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 1960, is disclosed, and the continued detention of the petitioner without ever putting the case in Court was abuse of the process of law as the authorities are anxious to keep him in custody by hook or crook being aware of the fact that his ultimate conviction even on the allegations made by the prosecution was not likely.
(3) Notice for the petitioner having been issued to the State, it opposes the grant of bail relying solely on the provisions of sub-section (2) of section 6 of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 30 of 1960, which lays down:
'6(2). Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, an offence under sub-section (1) shall be cognizable and no person accused of an offence under that sub-section shall be released on bail or on his own bond:
(a) unless the prosecution has been given an opportunity to oppose the application for such release; and
(b) where the prosecution oppose the application, the Court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that he is not guilty of 'such offence.'
(4) On the question of the powers of the Court to admit to bail a person who is accused of an offence under section 6(1) of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 1960, the learned Assistant Advocate General has referred to two decisions of this Court in Criminal Misc. No. 1229 of 1960, Buta Singh v. State, (Punj) and Criminal Misc. No. 1894 of 1960, Atma Singh v. State (Punj). The former is a decision of Falshaw, J. who declined to grant bail solely because he was of the opinion that a prima facie case was made out against the petitioner on the basis of the first information report and the statements of the witnesses recorded by the Police. The judgment does not contain any discussion of the powers vesting in the Court under Section 6(2) of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act. The latter case of Atma Singh, Cri. Misc. No. 1894 of 1960 (Punj) was decided by Shamsher Bahadur, J. on 16th November, 1960. Again, the learned Judge after going through the first information report and other material placed before him declined to grant bail on coming to the specific finding that it was not possible in that case to reach the conclusion that there was reasonable ground for believing that the petitioner was not guilty of an offence for which he was charged.
(5) Shri H. S. Gujral, appearing for the petitioner, on the other hand, relied upon the decision of Harbans Singh, J. in Harnam Singh v. The State, Criminal Misc. No. 1631 of 1960, D/- 25-10-1960 (Punj). The learned Judge discussed the provisions contained in sub-section (2) of section 6 of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 1960, and also a Division Bench decision of the Calcutta High Court in Badri Prosad v. The State, 56 Cal. W. N. 406: (AIR 1953 Cal 28) and laid down how the question of bail in such cases had to be approached and decided. It was observed that among the matters that had to be considered were (1) the charge made (2) the attendant facts including such police reports as the Court may think proper to consider, (3) the facts as stated by the petitioner in the petition for bail and (4) the presumption of innocence in favour of the accused. Dealing with the latter point, the learned Judge remarked:
'Though the stage, for raising the presumption of innocence in favour of the accused does not arise till the conclusion of the trial and the appreciation of the entire evidence on the record yet the matter of granting bail has to be considered in the background of the fact that in the Criminal Jurisprudence, which guides the Courts, there is a presumption of innocence in favour of the accused.'
In support of these observations, reliance was placed upon the Calcutta decision in Badri Prosad's case, 56 Cal WN 406: (AIR 1953 Cal 28)(supra) Proceeding further, Harbans Singh, J. observed:
'As was stated by the learned Judges of the Calcutta High Court in the case cited above, at this stage the question is only of a reasonable belief and not of a conclusion..................... I would repeat again that a reasonable belief at this state has nothing to do with the final conclusion which must be arrived at by the trial Court on the material on the record as it would come after the evidence has been recorded.'
(6) This judgment was noticed by Shamshwer Bahadur, J. in Atma Singh's case, Cri. Misc. No. 1894 of 1960, D/- 16-11-1960 (Punj) in the following words:
Harbans Singh, J. in Cri Miscs. No. 1631 of 1960, D/- 25-10-1960 (Punj) took a view in favour of the accused in granting bail and relied on the observations made by the Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court in Badri Prosad v. The State. It is, of course, true at stated in 56 Cal WN 406: (AIR 1953 Cal 28) that the presumption of innocence of the accused which is a cardinal feature of criminal jurisprudence remains unaffected by the rule which has been laid down in the matter of bail by S. 6 of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance. All that the Court has to do in granting bail in such cases is to examine the available material to come to a conclusion whether or not there is a reasonable belief to hold that the accused is guilty of the offence charged with.'
(7) The observations of Shamshwer Bahadur, J. in no way militate against the decision of Harbans Singh, J. in Harnam Singh's case Cri. Misc. No. 1631 of 1960, D/- 25-10-1960 (Punj). Both the cases cited on behalf of the State are clearly distinguishable on facts, and as sub-section (2) of section 6, Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, itself lays down, there is nothing to prevent the Court from granting bail to an accused who is charged with an offence under sub-section (1) of section 6 of the same Act, once the Court is satisfied that on the basis of the material placed before it there is reasonable ground for believing that the petitioner was guilty of the offence of which he is accused.
(8) Now, we turn to the facts of the case before us. The records of the case were summoned, and since the case has not been put in Court and they are still in the possession of the Police, they have been produced by S. I. Surjit Singh of Civil Lines Police Station, Patiala. Shri K. L. Jagga, the Assistant Advocate General, who represents the State, has taken me through the first information report which refers to speeches made by several persons. So far as Vidya Sagar petitioner is concerned, the act attributed to him is that he made a speech on 16th August, 1961, in the Gurdawara Sri Dukh Niwaran. The alleged incriminating portion of his speech, which is reproduced in the first information report, when translated, runs as follows:
'Vidya Sagar of the P. S. P., said that it is a sheet injustice that Punjabi Suba is not created when 13 other States have been formed on linguistic basis. This demand for the Punjabi Suba is valid. I say that the Punjabi Suba will come into being. It is not created, it will lead to bloodshed.'
(9) The learned Assistant Advocate General relies upon the concluding sentence of the speech quoted above, and argues that by saying that the non-establishment of the Punjabi Suba will led to bloodshed. Vidya Sagar petitioner impliedly incited the audience to resort to violence. Shri H. S. Gujral, on the other hand, contends that no such inference can be drawn from the speech read as a whole, and even if the contention put forward on behalf of the State is accepted, the offence would still be not one that would fall under sub-section (1) of Section 6 of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 1960. This is not the stage where I would like to express an opinion on these rival contentions that have been raised. I would, however, like to point out that sub-section (1) of Section 6 of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act does not punish instigation and incitement for commission of any offence, but only instigation or incitement 'to act in disobedience of any order made under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code.' The second part of section 6(1) of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act punishes a person who does any act for the purpose of encouraging the disobedience of an order promulgated under section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code. This is evident from the use of the expression 'such order' contained in the later portion of sub-section (1) of section 6, Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 1960, which runs as follows:
'6(1). Whosoever instigates or incites any other person to act in disobedience of any order made under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1898, or does any other act for the purpose of encouraging the disobedience of any such order, shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.'
(10) It is thus obvious that if on the facts disclosed at the hearing there is no reasonable ground for believing that the alleged offender, who is being prosecuted under section 6(1) of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 1960, has instigated or incited disobedience of an under S. 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code or had done anything to encourage disobedience of such an order, the Court will be at liberty to admit him to bail.
(11) From the extract of the speech attributed to the petitioner, which is embodied in the first information report and which has been reproduced above, I am unable to spell out any incitement or instigation or encouragement for disobedience of an order promulgated under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
(12) The Assistant Advocate General has then urged that the first information report does not contain the entire speech which the petitioner is alleged to have made on 16th August, 1961, and if the entire speech is read, that would certainly disclose an offence under section 6(1) of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act. He has taken me through the record of the speech as contained in the Police file. It is claimed that the speech itself was taken down by S. I. Judgal Kisore, and among the audience were Jagat Singh and Bhan Singh, upon whose statements reliance is placed in support of the prosecution case. No other witness has been named nor the statement of any one else is placed before me on this point. On consideration of all this material and for the reasons stated earlier I am satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the petitioner has committed an offence under section 6(1) of the Central Law Amendment Act. In view of what has been said above, I find that it is a fit case for exercise of powers under section 6(2) of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act. I, accordingly, accept the petition and direct that the petitioner be released on interim bail till the conclusion of his trial on his furnishing bail bond in the sum of Rs. 2000/- with one surety in the like amount to the satisfaction of the District Magistrate.
(13) Nothing said herein shall be taken as expression of opinion on the merits of the case, as at present we are concerned only with the question whether there is reasonable belief about the guilt of the petitioner, which is different from a definite finding about his innocence or guilt which can be returned only on full trial.
(14) Before parting, I would like to observe that there has been undue and unexplained delay in putting the case in Court against the accused. The case, so far as the prosecution is concerned, is very simple as it depends entirely on the speech made by him on 16th August, 1961. The prosecution claims to have taken down the speech and recorded the statements of the witnesses in support of it. I fail to see why it has been necessary for the prosecution to withhold the challan for all these days when no further investigation is needed and nothing further has been done. Such a course is apt to leave an impression in the mind of the accused that the challan is being delayed in order to punish him before he is convicted or to ensure that he would not escape punishment by detention in prison even if the Court ultimately finds him not guilty.
(15) Petition accepted.