Case Title: Varyava Abdul Wahab vs State of Gujarat
The Supreme Court has granted bail application of an Islamic Scholar and Maulvi from Gujarat who was accused forcefully converting 37 Hindu families and 100 Hindus after Gujarat High Court denied the same.
The Division Bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice CT Ravikumar allowed an SLP filed against the impugned High Court order rejecting the anticipatory bail plea noting that the accused has already appeared before the investigating officer for interrogation.
“Having heard Mr. Dushyant Dave, learned Senior Advocate, appearing for the petitioner and Mr. Kanu Agarwal, learned counsel, appearing for the State and in the facts and circumstances of the case narrated herein above and the fact that the petitioner has been protected by interim order since 13.05.2022 and thereafter has appeared before the Investigating Agency as per the subsequent order passed by this Court, we deem it proper to confirm the ad–interim order passed earlier and direct that, in case of arrest of the petitioner, he be released on bail on the terms and conditions, which may be imposed by the learned trial Court,” the order reads.
The Court however, added that if the State/Investigating Agency is of the opinion that the custodial investigation is required, in that case, it will be open for the Investigating Agency to move an appropriate application before the concerned Court and the present order shall not come in the way of the Investigating Agency.
“It goes without saying that, as and when such an application is made, the same be considered by the concerned Court in accordance with law and on its own merits and after giving an opportunity to the petitioner.”
It clarified that no observation on merits whether the Investigating Agency should be granted the permission for custodial investigation or not has been made.
The High Court had refused to grant anticipatory bail to the maulvi, who in connivance with 5 others, had converted around 37 Hindu families and 100 Hindus by providing them financial assistance, while noting that:
“….it appeared from the statements of the witnesses and investigation papers that Mahmood and other accused converted persons from one religion to another religion by providing cash amount and other articles of their requirements and specifically Mahmood, in addition to providing free education, provided certain articles as water cooler, freeze, chattai for namaj and cash amount to the converted persons.”
The maulvi is accused of offences punishable under Sections 4, 4C and 5 of the Freedom of Religion Act and Sections 120(B), 153(B)(1)(C), 153(A)(1), 295(A), 506(2), 466, 467 and 468 and 471 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 3(2)(5-A) of the Atrocities Act and Section 84C of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
Story Update By: Ms. Sai Sushmitha, Correspondent at Lawgic
Edited By: Ms. Nandini Nair, Content-Head at Lawgic