MADURAI: Pointing out that the FIR registered by the Nagercoil police against Evangelist Mohan C Lazarus for his alleged religious hate speech did not specify the place, date and occasion when the alleged statement took place, the Madurai Bench sought an explanation from police on what basis the FIR was registered.
Justice N Anand Venkatesh, while hearing the petition filed by Lazarus seeking to quash the FIR registered based on a complaint by Hindu Munnani functionary Namburajan, observed that, “Any complaint must have certain preliminary requirements to make out an offence. However, the complaint, in this case, does not satisfy the requirements to attract section 295 (A) of IPC (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious beliefs).”
He stated that in order to make out a cognizable offence under the above IPC section, the statement should have been made in a public meeting. If the said statement had been uttered in a closed gathering in the nature of a private meeting, it cannot be cited as a cognizable offence under the above section, as the same would imply that no two persons can freely express their ideas or sentiments to each other in fear that they may be punished if it gets published in social media, the judge added.
Criticising the Kottar police for filing FIR on a complaint that lacks the most important details as to where, when and on what occasion the alleged statement had been made, the judge directed the police to explain on what basis the FIR was registered by them at the next hearing October 24. Lazarus had submitted in his petition that the alleged statement was made by him within four walls before a group of pastors during a group discussion.