‘Matters related to religion cannot be left in hands of individuals,’ SC rules in blasphemy case

    The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday granted bail to a blasphemy accused, observing that “matters related to religion could not be left in the hands of individuals” and state machinery should handle them with utmost capacity and caution.

    A two-member bench of the SC, headed by Justice Qazi Faez Isa, heard the bail application of the accused who had allegedly joined a Whatsapp group that posted blasphemous content.

    During the hearing, Justice Isa asked the public prosecutor why had the trial court not imposed any clause in the indictment. The apex court judge added how would the accused fight his case when he did not know what crime he had committed.

    To this, the deputy attorney general replied that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) ​​had probed the matter on a complaint in June this year.

    Irked by the remark, Justice Isa told the deputy attorney general that he should know which clause was imposed at the time of the indictment.

    Justice Isa furthered that the FIA ​​also sought the opinion of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) in this case, adding that the council said that section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) did not apply to the accused.

    The top court’s judge added that the CII was a constitutional body, when the opinion of a constitutional body was not followed, it was better to “close it”.

    Justice Yahya Afridi then asked the lawyer of the accused regarding the date the CII opinion was received, to which, the council replied that the opinion arrived on June 8, 2022.

    Justice Afridi then inquired if the trial court had rejected the bail despite the opinion of the council. “If we give an opinion, the case under hearing in the high court will be affected,” he added.

    Justice Isa remarked that every case about religion was related to the state. “Matters related to religion cannot be left in the hands of individuals but the state machinery should handle them with utmost capacity and caution,” he said.

    The judge added that state machinery should not lie before individuals in these matters, further stating that in a case related to religion, the trial court framed the charge but did not insert the section.

    Expressing dissatisfaction over the FIA ​​investigation, the court said that further investigation was required.

    The apex court stated that the investigation was incomplete because the alleged post was in Arabic but the investigation did not prove whether the complainant knew Arabic or not.

    The apex court added that the investigation also failed to mention how the complainant came to know about the post.

    The court then granted bail to the accused against surety bonds worth Rs100,000.

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