Allahabad HC grants bail to man arrested under unlawful conversion law

The Allahabad High Court has set aside the order of a lower court in Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Buddha Nagar district and granted bail to a Muslim man arrested under the new unlawful conversion law in the State.

The HC said the lower court had “erred” in rejecting the bail application of the accused man, Fehzan Malik.

On April 4, a special court under the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Gautam Buddha Nagar, rejected his bail plea in a case of alleged rape and unlawful conversion of a Dalit woman, aged 20.

Mr. Malik was booked under Sections 376 (rape) and 506 (criminal intimidation), relevant sections of the SC/ST Act and Section 3/ (5)1 of the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020 at Kasna. He has been in jail since March 20.

The counsel for the accused man submitted in court that from a bare perusal of the FIR, it was apparent that physical relations were developed by him with the consent of the victim. In her statement under Section 161 CrPC, the victim had said that the man had a physical relationship with her on false assurances of marriage.

Setting aside the lower court order, Justice Vipin Chandra Dixit allowed the criminal appeal filed by Mr. Malik.

“Upon hearing learned counsel for the parties, perusal of record and considering the complicity of accused, severity of punishment as well as totality of facts and circumstances, I find that the court below has erred in rejecting the bail application,” the court said in an order dated June 25.

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