Declining bail to an alleged member of terror group Babbar Khalsa International, Arwinder Singh, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that their propaganda and incitement to violence on social media is equivalent to collecting men for waging war against the Government of India, as defined under Section 122 of the IPC.
Instructing the trial Court to decide the case within the next three months, Justice Audio Ahluwalia, in his June 1 order, observed that though the accused had not been charged under Section 122 (collecting arms, etc, with the intention of waging war against the Government of India) yet the material on record was sufficient to lead to his conviction under this section also.
“It can be safely held that the Petitioner by way of collecting ‘men’, with the intention of either waging or being prepared to wage war against the Government of India, would be liable under section 122 of the IPC, which is punishable at par with section 121-A of IPC itself, for which he is already facing trial”.
In May 2016, Nawanshahar police registered a case against Arwinder Singh under Sections 121, 121-A of the IPC and Section 10/13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Singh has asserted in his bail plea that he has undergone detention in excess of two years and on account of this, his further detention for an indefinite period is not justified and is, therefore, liable to be granted bail under Section 439 IPC.
Stating that violence on social media is directly accessible all over the World, the single-judge Bench said that some of the posts attributed to the accused on the Facebook reveal overt incitement to violence for the purpose of establishing the state of Khalistan.
Arwinder’s counsel had contended that sharing of the alleged communally sensitive or hateful posts on social media does not disclose any ingredients to establish the offence under Section 121. He had further contended that the acts of receiving money from abroad or distributing pamphlets or sending Booklets abroad meant to convey the objective of securing “purity” or “non-servility” of the ‘Sikh Panth’ cannot render him liable for offences under the UAPA as well.
The state, on the other hand, argued that even collecting men, and not necessarily arms and ammunition, would amount to attempting to wage a war against the Government, making an offence punishable under Section 122 of the Code.