August 13, 2021 5:17:18 am
THE PUNJAB and Haryana High Court has dismissed the anticipatory bail plea of a YouTuber, who uploaded a video on his channel allegedly making derogatory remarks against a community.
The petitioner, Om Prakash Yadav, had moved the HC seeking anticipatory bail in an FIR dated October 14, 2020, under Sections 153-A and 154-B of Indian Penal Code, and Section 3(1) (r) and 3(1) (s) of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (Amendment 2015), registered in Hansi district.
The petitioner’s counsel contended that it was not a case of his client having uttered something in public view, and it is also not ascertained as to whether the petitioner had put up the contents of the video on social media. Therefore, he may be considered for anticipatory bail.
The state counsel, on the other hand, submitted that the petitioner had been repeatedly putting up such videos on YouTube and consequently, it is not a case of the petitioner having committed such an offence for the first time. Therefore, his custodial investigation was required especially in view of the fact that it has to be ascertained as to why the petitioner was repeatedly doing such acts and also as to when the petitioner had uploaded the video on YouTube.
Advocate Arjun Sheoran, the counsel for the complainant, submitted that the present petition for grant of anticipatory bail is not maintainable in view of the provisions of Section 18 and 18A of the SC and ST Act, 1989. He submitted that the petitioner is in fact a YouTuber and runs a channel which is known as ‘The Om Yadav Show’, which has approximately 65,000 subscribers. The video was uploaded by the petitioner on his channel and has been seen by thousands of people across the world, including the complainant.
The bench of Justice Jasgurpreet Singh Puri, after hearing the matter, held that the petitioner was a YouTuber and if the video is a part of his own channel, then it cannot be said that it was not in public view.
After a perusal of the contents of video, as contained in the FIR, the bench held it cannot be termed as a case where it can be said that prima facie no offence is made out. “Once these contents are aired on social media, and that too on a YouTube channel, the bar contained under Section 18 and 18A would certainly apply,” said the bench, while dismissing the bail plea of the petitioner.
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