Kochi: A Sessions Court in Kochi on Saturday dismissed the anticipatory bail plea filed by senior politician P C George in connection with a hate speech case saying his comments prima facie appear to be of such a nature as to promote disharmony, hatred and ill between communities. Soon after the court pronounced the judgment on George's bail plea, police reached the former MLA's residence to take him into custody, but he was not traceable. George moved his bail plea soon after the Kochi city police had registered a case against him on May 10 for his objectionable remarks during a speech, which he delivered in connection with a temple festival at Vennala in Ernakulam district. The court said it was not possible to take a lenient view on his anticipatory bail and dismissed the petition. 'The comments made by the petitioner (George)... prima facie appear to be of such a nature as to promote disharmony, hatred and ill will between the persons belonging to Muslim community and the followers of two other predominant religions of our state,' the court said. The order said George, who was recently arrested in a similar case, was released on bail subject to the condition that he shall not make and propagate controversial statements that might hurt the religious sentiments of others. In his order, Additional Sessions Judge G Girish noted that the present speech was made by George within 10 days of his release on bail in the similar case registered at Thiruvananthapuram. 'The above nature of the petitioner who gives scant regard to the directions of the court would foreclose the scope of invoking the exceptional powers conferred under Section 438 CrPC for granting pre-arrest bail,' the court said.
The court said it went through the transcript of the speech made by George and 'it is seen that there are highly provocative remarks' capable of promoting disharmony, hatred and ill will between different religious groups. The present case was registered under Indian Penal Code Section 153 (promoting enmity between different groups) and 295 A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs). George, who was the chief whip when the Congress-led United Democratic Front was in power, had earlier sparked off a controversy by asking non-Muslims in Kerala to avoid restaurants run by the community. Addressing a programme organised as part of the Ananthapuri Hindu Maha Sammelan in Thiruvananthapuram last month, the former Kerala Congress leader had alleged that tea laced with 'drops causing impotence' were sold in Muslim-run restaurants to turn people 'infertile' in a bid to 'seize control' of the country. As the remarks triggered a widespread political controversy, a case was registered and he was arrested on May 1 but was released on bail by a court in Thiruvananthapuram on the same day itself. George, who represented the Poonjar constituency in the state assembly for 33 years, had lost his bastion to the Left Democratic Front candidate in the 2021 Assembly polls in a triangular fight.—PTI