Court calls for case diary of latest FIR against PC George over hate speech

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P C George addressing the media | Photo: Mathrubhumi

Kochi: A district court in Kerala on Wednesday asked the police to place before it the case diary in connection with the FIR registered against senior politician P C George a day ago on charges of hate speech.

The court, during the hearing of George's plea for anticipatory bail in the latest case, said it will not pass any order in the matter till it sees the case diary and listed the politician's application on May 16.

Advocate Geo Paul, who is representing the senior politician, said a protection from arrest was sought on the ground that what George said was protected under the right to freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under the Constitution.

Therefore, the offences under Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups) and 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code were not made out against him, the lawyer said.

Earlier in the day, a magisterial court in Thiruvananthapuram granted time till next week to George to file his objections against a plea moved by the police to cancel his bail in a case accusing him of making a hate speech against Muslims in the state on April 29.

In that matter, police have claimed that George has violated the bail conditions as immediately after getting the relief, he addressed the visual media in front of the Judicial Officer's Quarters, Vanchiyoor.

In his address, George had said he is still sticking to what he stated in the speech and was justifying the same which amounts to repetition of the same crime and spreading communal hatred further, the police claimed.

In that case, police had arrested the senior politician on May 1 after registering an FIR under Sections 153A and 295A at Fort Police station for allegedly making a communal speech against Muslim community while addressing 'Ananthapuri Hindu Maha Sammelanam' on April 29.

The 70-year-old former MLA had sparked a controversy by asking non-Muslims in Kerala to avoid eating at restaurants run by the community.

The second FIR against him has been lodged over his alleged objectionable remarks during a speech he delivered in connection with a temple festival at Vennala in Ernakulam district on May 8.

Advocate Geo Paul said one of the defences taken by them in the latest case was that George was a well-known politician in the state for decades and since a record of his latest speech in question was already with the police, there was no need for his custodial interrogation.

The lawyer further said another defence taken by them in the application was that the FIR was a "political gimmick" in view of the upcoming by-election for the Thrikkakara assembly seat. PTI

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