On Friday 1st April 2022, the Chhattisgarh High Court granted bail to Kalicharan Maharaj who was arrested on 30th December 2021 by Raipur Police for allegedly criticizing Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi during a speech at the ‘Dharm Sansad’ event in Chhattisgarh. A case of sedition was also registered against him. Now, he has been granted bail in this case after being asked to deposit a bond of Rs 1 lakh and two deposits of rupees 50 thousand each.
Kalicharan Maharaj allegedly used objectionable words against MK Gandhi during the Dharma Sansad in Raipur. He was arrested by Raipur police from Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh after registering a case against him under several sections. Sections invoked against Kalicharan Maharaj included section 505 (2) (making a statement that creates or promotes enmity, hatred, or ill-will between classes) and 294 (obscene acts) for allegedly using derogatory words against Mahatma Gandhi. Later, police added 124 A (sedition) and four other sections of the IPC in the case.
Kalicharan Maharaj’s lawyer argued, “The applicant has been falsely implicated in this case due to political rivalry. The offence under Section 124 A of the Indian Penal Code is prima facie not made out against the applicant. The decisive ingredients for establishing the offence are missing in the First Information Report, there is no suggestion that the applicant did anything against the government of Chhattisgarh, the Government of India, or any other Governments of States. The complaint filed against the applicant contains no averment that the applicant did anything against the governments.”
Kalicharan Maharaj’s lawyer cited the judgments given in such cases in the Supreme Court. He also said, “It is not a crime to make a public statement quoting what is written in the books. A charge sheet, in this case, has also been submitted to the court. In such a situation, bail is his right.”
The public prosecutor argued that the accused can disturb communal harmony if bail is granted to him. After hearing the arguments of both sides, the High Court granted bail with the condition of depositing a bond of Rs 1 lakh and two deposits of Rs 50,000 each.
The Dharm Sansad event where Kalicharan Maharaj delivered the controversial speech was held at Raipur in Chhattisgarh on 26th December 2021. In his speech, Kalicharan Maharaj had criticized Gandhi for India’s partition and hailed Nathuram Godse for killing Gandhi.