High court grants anticipatory bail to Punjabi singer Gurdas Maan

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The Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday granted anticipatory bail to singer Gurdas Maan in a case of hurting religious sentiments.

On September 8, a Jalandhar court had dismissed Maan’s plea for the same.

Maan was booked under Sections 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings) of the Indian Penal Code at Nakodar city police station in Jalandhar on August 26.

The high court bench of justice Avneesh Jhingan granted the bail, observing that custody is not required as nothing is to be recovered.

Gurdas Maan asked to join probe in week

The bench said that the issue as to whether words used by the petitioner while performing on stage were deliberate/malicious so as to invoke Section 295A would be subject to investigation, Maan’s counsel Arshdeep Singh Cheema said.

The court observed that Maan is a noted singer and is not a personality who will abscond from investigation. He has been asked to join investigation in a week.

During a religious fair in Nakodar on August 24, Maan had described Ladi Shah of Dera Baba Murad Shah as a descendant of the third Sikh master, Guru Amar Das. When a social media campaign started against his statement, Maan put out a video online, offering an apology for his statement.

However, a case was registered against him. Maan has argued that no offence under Section 295A of the IPC can be said to be made out against him. To be booked under the section, it has to be demonstrated that an act has been committed with deliberate and malicious intention to outrage the religious feelings of any class of citizens and such act insults or attempts to insult the religion or the religious beliefs of that class. In the present case, the first information report (FIR) prima facie fails to disclose that the essential ingredients of offence were made out, it has been argued.

The plea says the trial court judge apparently got “influenced by the show of public outcry, generated by some sections through a sustained campaign”.

“As a humble Sikh and a sensitive citizen, the petitioner made a widely circulated public apology. His words ought to be interpreted in the total background of his lifelong devotion to Sikh Gurus and to the principles of Sikhism,” the plea says

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