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Baku Rao Patel Vs. the State - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Revision Appeal No. 146 of 1971
Judge
Reported in1973RLR637
ActsIndian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 - Sections 153A(1); Constitution of India - Article 19(1)
AppellantBaku Rao Patel
RespondentThe State
Advocates: B.B. Lal and; R.N. Dixit, Advs
Excerpt:
.....the restriction was reasonable and constitutional under article 19(1) (a) of the constitution of india - - the minorities in these muslim countries know very well what the followers of islam will do to them in the name of religion if the minorities ever dared to ask for any political rights. the editor has further written that the hindus by their very nature are tolerant and not blood-thirsty like the followers of islam, and that they had to 'eliminate this vexatious and dangerous problem of muslim, comunalism which periodically causes bloodshed and disturbs the peaceful tenor of our life. the author has indulged in use of offensive and abusive language. the only ingredients of an offence under section 153(l)(a) are thatthe speech or writing complained of must have the effect of..........without these three essentials there cannot be communalism. 'we find these three essentials in the muslim community of india. mohomed ali jinnah used these essentials cleverly to carve out pakistan as another islamic power. the muslim community which jinnah used is still in india. it never crossed over to pakistan. and this muslim minority with its old communal training is again on the war path as is evident from its periodical provocations to the majority community.(6) the communal violence of this muslim community having been rewarded once by the creation of pakistan, it is but natural that the muslim community should arise its traditional instrument of violent communalism and seek new rewards by fresh agitations. (7) another minority, whole subtle religious comunalism has become.....
Judgment:

R.N. Aggarwal, J.

(1) Babu Rao Patel, Editor and Publisher of a monthly magazine known as 'Mother India,' in his issue for April, 1968, issued an article under the caption 'Lingering Disgrace of History'. The article opens with a dialogue between a visiting American and an Indian. The visiting American expressed his surprise that in Delhi about a dozen roads had been named after Mughal emperors namely, Akbar, Humayun, Tughlak, Aurangzeb and Shahjehan who had slaughtered Hindu men and raped their women. The editor has in the article stated that right from the time of Mohammed Ion Qasim to Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Hindus had given millions of men, women and children as hostages to Islam to buy some peace and preserve their own religion and they were still doing so and that God alone knows how long this process of paying and appeasing Muslims will go on but it cannot go on for long if the family planning designs of the present secular government succeed. Because then pretty soon there would be no Hindus left to pay. The editor further predicted a blak future of the ancient Hindu race in Pakistan. According to the editor, in Pakistan a subtle and systematic genocide of the 10- million Hindus living there had been undertaken at State level by enforcing vasectomy operations on Hindu males and tubectomies on Hindu females, and by raping women and converting young children to Islam. The editor has further described the various atrocities that had been committed by Babar, Aurangzeb and other Mughal emperors and expressed his dissatisfaction over the naming of important roads in New Delhi after their names. The editor further described the atrocities committed by Aurangzeb on the two sons of Guru Gobind Singh who had refused to embrace Islam, and observcd : 'To have a street named after this Mughal bastard in New Delhi, the capital of India, is not only a disgrace to the Hindus but a crying insult to the brave community of Sikhs. Had the Muslims been insulted thus, they would not only have burnt every house on the road named after the tyrant but also set fire to the whole damn city. The Muslims know how to guard their traditions.' The editor further goes on to write that in Pakistan old cities are being named anew with Muslim names, whereas in India important cities are still named after the Muslim emperors.

(2) The editor further, while comparing the British rule of 200 years to that of the Muslim rule of a thousand years, wrote that the British had never raped Indian women, kidnapped Indian children, burnt Indian homes or slaughtered the Indian people. But still the statues of their kings, governors and viceroys, some of which were imposing works of sculpture worth maintaining for their natural beauty as works of art, had been mudiated and destroyed.

(3) The editor further wrote : 'What a great contrast between the British builders of the nation and the brutal Mughal ravishers: The bleeding wounds inflicted over a thousand years by barbarian Mughals were gently healed by the British rulers in 200 years and the country once ravaged by the raids and loot of Mughal fanatics was once again made to look green and smiling by the blessings of the British. This is historical truth-not political fiction.'

'BUTthe British who had done all this and more became hateful aliens overnight while the Mughal barbarians who had multiplied on loot, rape, arson, murder and forced conversions became partners of a secular nation. The only logic in this forced partnership is of the fanatical aggression of the Muslims as against the cowardly submission of the Hindus. The partnership has neither historical title nor moral sanction. Raiders, at the most, can be tenants, never owners.'

'If the broom that was used to sweep out British memory from the country is to be justified on political grounds, then on many more grounds-cultural, religious, moral, social, historical and political-bull-dozers will have to be used to remove the taunting relics of the thousand years of Mughal barbarity in the country. Relics that remind Hindus of their shame and disgrace but make Muslims proud of the fell deeds of their ancestors.'

(4) The Editor further wrote : 'Let us then make a beginning of wiping out our thousand- year-old shame by first changing the Muslim names of roads and cities which remind us of the inhuman atrocities committed on our men, women and children. In the end, the editor made an appeal to the students in the following words :

'AREN'Tyou fellows sore for what they did to your women and children Let our youthful and warm-blooded students, who are shaping many things these days, answer this question urgently. An imbecile government with a secular spine will never be able to answer such a pointed question.'

(5) The petitioner in his issue dated August 1968 published another article under the heading 'A Tale of Two Commnunalisms. 'In the said article the editor has given the population figures in the Muslim countries and written that in those countries there are no communal riots since the Muslim majority in those countries is so overwhelming that the small, fractional religious minorities do not have the guts to demand any minority rights. The minorities live the life of the majorities and completely merge themselves into the larger community. The editor has further written in the following words : 'The majority of Muslims never get the opportunity to butcher the minorities. Additionally, these are all countries with Islam as their state religion. The word ''Islam', which means peace, has strangely enough become the symbol of the greatest terror in the world. The minorities in these Muslim countries know very well what the followers of Islam will do to them in the name of religion if the minorities ever dared to ask for any political rights.' The editor has further written that in Pakistan the Hindu minority is 6.6% and because of their racial tradition they do not indulge in communal riots and live in peace without retaliation in spite of periodical rape and slaughter by the Muslims of Pakistan. The editor further writes as follows :-

'THREEessentials are, thereforee, necessary for violent communalism. The community must be a minority. The minority must be sizable. And the minority must have a tradition of murder and violence. Without these three essentials there cannot be communalism. 'We find these three essentials in the Muslim community of India. Mohomed Ali Jinnah used these essentials cleverly to carve out Pakistan as another Islamic power. The Muslim community which Jinnah used is still in India. It never crossed over to Pakistan. And this Muslim minority with its old communal training is again on the war path as is evident from its periodical provocations to the majority community.

(6) The communal violence of this Muslim community having been rewarded once by the creation of Pakistan, it is but natural that the muslim community should arise its traditional instrument of violent communalism and seek new rewards by fresh agitations.

(7) Another minority, whole subtle religious comunalism has become dangerous these days, consists of Christians. These 10-million and odd people nurse the ambition of concerting 360- million Hindus to Christianity with the help of their foreign missionaries. How the aggressive posture of these proselytizing missionaries is often supported by other minorities was seen recently in the case of father Ferrer whose expulsion was strongly opposed by the Parsis. who do not have even a six figure population.'

(8) The editor has further written that communalism in India is to be pulled up by the roots. It is no use pruning its leaves. The causes have to be tackled. It is no use toying with the effects. The editor has further written that the Hindus by their very nature are tolerant and not blood-thirsty like the followers of Islam, and that they had to 'eliminate this vexatious and dangerous problem of Muslim, comunalism which periodically causes bloodshed and disturbs the peaceful tenor of our life. The editor has ended by saying that they can make a beginning in plain words that by virtue of its majority being the deciding factor in a democracy, India is a Hindu nation.

(9) The Superintendent of Police, Crime and Railways, filed two complaints under section 153-A Indian Penal Code against Babu Rao Patel alleging that by publishing the articles discussed above he had tried to promote feelings of enmity or hatred between Hindus and Muslims on ground of religion and had thereby acted in a manner prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between the religious groups or communities.

(10) The trial magistrate found the petitioner guilty of the offences charged with and sentenced him to simple imprisonment for four months and a fine of Rs. 1,000.00 and in default of payment of fine to undergo S. 1. for one month, in each of the two cases. Against his conviction and sentence, the petitioner went in appeal to the Sessions Judge. Shri M. L. Jain, sessions Judge, affirmed the sentence to that of fine of Rs. 500.00 and in default of payment of fine to undergo S 1 for one month in each of the two cases. Against the order of the Sessions Judge, the petitioner has come in revision to this court.

(11) Shri Bipin Bihari hall, on behalf of the petitioner, contended that the editor in the article captioned 'Lingering Disgrace of history'' has dealt with the subject from a historical point of view and the article read as a whole does not show that there was any attempt to promote feelings of enmity between the Muslims. I find myself unable to agree in this contention. The said article when read as a whole would show that its author had not dealt with the subject from a historical point of view. The author has indulged in use of offensive and abusive language. The article contains passages and material which when read as a whole is bound to create resentment in the community whose religion is criticised resulting in feelings of ill will and hatred against the community to which the writer belongs. The same is my view with regard to the second article.

(12) Shri Lall contended that there was no means read on the part of the petitioner in writing the articles in question to actually promote feelings of enmity between the various classes of citizens in India. The intention was to be judged by the writing and not apart from the writings. Whether the writer really intended to promote feelings of hatred or ill-will between the various communities residing in the country is not relevant. The only thing to be found out is whether the writing when read tend to produce such an effect. I have no hesitation in finding that the writings in question have the effect of promoting feelings of enmity hatred or ill-will between the various communities particularly Hindus and Muslims.

(13) Shri Lall next contended that to bring the writings within the ambit of section 153(1)(a) Indian Penal Code the prosecution has to prove that the article was such as was likely to disturb public peace. The only ingredients of an offence under section 153(l)(a) are thatthe speech or writing complained of must have the effect of promoting or attempting to promote feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different citizens on grounds of religion, race, place of birth etc. There is no requirement in section 153A (1) (a) that the offending article must be such as to disturb or likely to disturb public peace.

(14) Shri Lall contended that if the words disturb or is likely to disturb public tran quality are not read into the language employed in section 153A(l)(a), the said provision would impinge upon the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by Article 19(l)(a) of the Constitution of India and would, thereforee, be vocative of the Constitution. This argument has no merit. The object of section 153A is to prevent the subjects or citizens from doing anything which may have the effect of promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between the different classes or citizens. If a person by his writing or by his speech promotes hatred or ill-will between different classes of citizens, it is bound to affect public order. Sub- clause [2] of Art. 19 provides that nothing in sub-clause [a] of clause [1] shall affect the operation of any existing law or prevent the State from making any law in so far as such law imposes reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub-clause in the interest of security of the State, public order, etc. The acts of promoting or attempting to promote feelings of enmity or ill-wiil between the different classes of citizens must necessarily have the affect of creating public disorder. A legislation aiming to prevent such acts would be in the interests of the public order and the restrictions imposed therein would be reasonable restrictions.

(15) A similar argument was raised before a bench of the Bombay High Court, reported as Gopal Vinayak Godse Vs . The Union of India and others, : AIR1971Bom56 . Mr. Justice Chandrachud, speaking for the court, while dealing with the constitutionality of section 153A observed :-

'......BRIEFLY,the challenge to the constitutionality of section 153A on the ground that it violates the guarantee of free speech and expression must be rejected because the Section seeks to punish only (a) such acts which have the tendency to promote enmity or hatred between different classes or [b] such acts which are prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different classes and which have the tendency to disturb public tranquillity. These acts are clearly calculated to disturb public order and so the limitations imposed by Section 153A are in the interests of public order. Article 19[2] would therefore? save S. 153A as being within the scope of permissible legislative restrictions on Uk fundamental rights guaranteed by Art. 19[1][a].'

(16) The cited authority is directly in point and I see no reason to take a different view. Shri Lall contended that in assessing the guilt it has to be borne in mind that the periodical 'Mother India' is priced at Rs. 3 per copy and its readers are not ordinary class of people and it is sold only in the higher strata and is read by intellectuals. On the facts and circumstances of this case, in my view, this fact makes no difference The articles are such which, when read either by Hindus or Muslims, are bound to prejudice their minds and create feelings of ill-will and hatred against one another. (B.S. Banergee, Adv.)


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