Bengaluru: In a riveting piece of observation, the Karnataka high court has said that integrity and sovereignty of nation easily supersede right to liberty under Article 21.  

The high court was hearing a bail pleas petition of a 38-year techie who had inflamed passions by urging everyone to spread the coronavirus on his FB post. 

The accused is a techie by profession. 

As reported by Bar and Bench, appearing for the petitioner Mohammed Mujeeb, advocate Mohammed Tahir submitted that the major offence alleged against his client was one under Section 153A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) of the Indian Penal Code. The maximum punishment prescribed under this provision is imprisonment up to 3 years.

Countering Mujeeb's bail application, government pleader GS Vinayaka argued that the punishment prescribed for the offence is not the sole criteria for granting bail, and that the nature and gravity of the offence will have to be taken into consideration.

There was also another point put forth by the petitioner’s lawyer. It was that his mental condition was not stable. When the court noted that it was certified by a private doctor and when the court endeavoured to send to him NIMHANS, the lawyer did not press that ground. 

The court further noted: “...They prima-facie show that though the petitioner was well educated and well employed, uploaded the above stated messages and they are likely to cause disharmony, hatred and hostile to the humanity. They are likely to cause panic amongst the people when the entire world is undergoing a traumatic situation due to Covid-19 pandemic."

The website further adds: The Court further noted that the investigation reports opined that the petitioner was influenced by some elements preaching religious fanaticism and anti-national ideas. It was further made out that Mujeeb even "shared a Pakistan WhatsApp number for Islamic information".

On these grounds, the Karnataka high court rejected bail to the accused.