Ranchi Court Withdraws Order to Distribute Quran Copies in Exchange for Bail

The court had granted bail to a 19-year-old woman, who was arrested for hurting religious sentiments, on the condition that she donate five copies of the Quran to separate institutions in the city.

New Delhi: The local court in Ranchi which granted bail to a 19-year-old woman, on the condition that she donate five copies of the Quran to separate institutions in the city, has withdrawn its controversial order.

The woman was recently arrested for sharing an offensive social media post targeting Muslims.

The Ranchi District Bar Association staged a protest rally and boycotted the Magistrate’s court after order generated controversy across the country.

The court of judicial magistrate (first class) Manish Kumar Singh, after granting the conditional bail on Monday, asked Richa Bharti to submit one copy of the holy book to the local Anjuman Committee in the presence of police authorities, and four more copies to different libraries in the city, her advocate Rampravesh Singh told PTI.

The magistrate has also sought the receipt or the acknowledgement of the donation within a fortnight, he said.

Md Jamil Khan, a member of the Anjuman Committee, said it has welcomed the court’s verdict.

“The committee, which looks after the health, education and welfare of the local people, has accepted the verdict whole-heartedly. The woman has been asked to donate copies of the Quran to the committee as well as school and college libraries,” he said.

Superintendent of Police (Rural) Asutosh Sekhar, when contacted, said the officers were studying the court order to understand the stipulations.

Bharti, a B.Com student at a local college, was arrested on July 12 after the Anjuman Committee filed a complaint against her at the Pithora Police Station for sharing an objectionable post on Facebook, which reportedly hurt religious sentiments.

Also Read: To ‘Reform’ Man Accused in Caste Atrocity, Bombay High Court Orders Him to Plant Saplings

“We moved a petition in the court praying for bail. On Monday, we got conditional bail with the ruling that she should donate one copy of the Quran Sharif to Anjuman Committee at Pithoria and four more to different libraries in the city,” the girl’s counsel said.

The judge has also directed the investigating officer in the case to be present when Bharti donates the holy book to the committee, he added.

Bharti’s parents, Prakash and Nilam Devi, said they were happy to have their daughter back.

“I have not yet received the order copy. I respect the court’s verdict. But I have not done anything wrong and will consult members of my family and lawyer if I can move the high court (against the lower court’s verdict),” Bharti told PTI over the phone.

Her father Prakash Patel also said they did not receive the copy of the order till 5:30 pm.

“After receiving it, we will consult our advocate and go through the legal process. We have full faith in the judiciary,” he added.

Later speaking to a television channel, Bharti said she will not distribute the Quran. “Will the court tomorrow ask me to read namaaz or convert to Islam?” she questioned.

In June, The Wire reported that in two separate orders involving cases registered under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the Bombay high court issued orders that looked to to “reform” the accused instead of initiating punitive action. In one case, the accused was asked to visit a Buddha Vihar and read the theories of Dr B.R. Ambedkar. In the second, the accused was asked to submit a written apology for using casteist slurs.

(With PTI inputs)