New Delhi: The Delhi District Court of ASJ Dharmendra Rana on Tuesday 23 February granted bail to Disha Ravi accused in the international conspiracy case linked with the Republic Day violence in Delhi and the farmers’ protest.
The operative portion of the bail order says: “Considering the scanty and sketchy evidence available on record, I do not find any palpable reasons to breach the general rule of ‘ Bail’ against a 22 years old young lady, with absolutely blemish free criminal antecedents and having firm roots in the society, and send her to jail. As a cumulative effect of the aforesaid discussion I am of the considered opinion that the applicant accused deserves to be released on bail subject to filing of personal bond/surety bond in the sum of ₹ 1 lakh with two sureties each in the like amount and subject to the following conditions:
1) She shall continue to co-operate with the ongoing investigations and shall join the investigation as and when summoned by the IO;
2) She shall not leave the country without the permission of the court;
3) She shall scrupulously appear at each and every stage of the proceedings before concerned Court so as not to cause any obstruction or delay to its progress Needless to say that nothing observed herein shall have any bearing upon the merits of the case.”
The order goes on to observe, “Prosecution has also opposed the release of the applicant accused on bail on the ground that she is required to be confronted with other co-accused persons. However, I concur with the learned defence counsel that if the other co-accused persons, who are on anticipatory transit bail, can be confronted with the applicant accused in custody then there is no rule of law or prudence, at least that I am aware of, that a person is mandatorily required to be detained in custody to be confronted with other coaccused persons. The applicant accused is already reported to have been interrogated in police custody for almost about five days and placing any further restraint upon her liberty on the basis of general and omnibus accusation would be neither logical nor legal.
The order states: “I am conscious of the fact that it is very difficult to collect evidence for the offence of conspiracy but I’m equally conscious of the fact that what is difficult to prove for the prosecution in the affirmative is virtually impossible for the defence to prove in the negative. I’m also conscious of the fact that the investigation is at a nascent stage and police is in the process of collecting more evidence, however, the investigating agency made a conscious choice to arrest the applicant accused upon the strength of material so far collected and now they cannot be permitted to further restrict the liberty of a citizen on the basis of propitious anticipations.”
Bringing on record the prosecution’s claim that the bail applicant accused had created a WhatsApp group by the name of “Intl farmers strike” and added certain persons in the group and the submission that she deleted the group chat from her phone in an attempt to destroy the crucial evidence linking her with the toolkit and PJF (Poetic Justice Foundation) and that she was alleged to be one of the editors of the toolkit, besides the further contension that she tried her best to conceal her identity so that legal action could not be taken against her and the allegation that she gave a global audience to the secessionist elements by manipulating support of international youth icon Greta Thunberg and the claim that her co- accused Shantanu came to Delhi to ensure the execution of the plan, the order says: In my considered opinion creation of a WhatsApp group or being editor of an innocuous Toolkit is not an offence. Further, since the link with the said toolkit or PJF has not been found to be objectionable, mere deletion of the WhatsApp chat to destroy the evidence linking her with the toolkit and PJF also becomes meaningless. Further, it is rightly pointed out by Ld Defence Counsel that the protest march was duly permitted by the Delhi police therefore there is nothing wrong in co accused Shantanu reaching Delhi to attend the protest march. Still further, the attempt to conceal her identity seems to be nothing more than an anxious effort to stay away from unnecessary controversies.”
On the contents of the “toolkit” linked with the case, the order cites Mazumdar v. Emperor AIR 1942 FC22 (Niharendu Dutt ) and says: “The perusal of the said ‘Toolkit’ reveals that any call for any kind of violence is conspicuously absent. In my considered opinion, Citizens are conscience keepers of government in any democratic Nation. They cannot be put behind the bars simply because they choose to disagree with the State policies. The offence of sedition cannot be invoked to minister to the wounded vanity of the governments.”
GLOBAL FARMERS STRIKE
WILL YOU BE PART OF THE LARGEST PROTEST IN HUMAN HISTORY?
(A picture showing gathering of few people embedded in the page)
TO STAND UP AGAINST INDIA’S FAILING DEMOCRACY (AT THE BEHEST OF THE FASCISTIC RULING PARTY, RSS BJP)
TO STAND UP AGAINST UNREGULATED CORPORATISATION OF THE FARMING SECTOR, (Photocopy of this page is annexed alongwith the order)
The Court has cited in support of its observation the judgment of the Punjab & Haryana High Court in the matter of Haryana 1989 SCC 93 (P&H) Balbir Singh Saina v. State, and said: “I find absolutely nothing objectionable in the said page. Upon perusal of the material available on Genocide.org, it is revealed that it carries certain facts about the status of human right violations in somewhere about 40 countries including India. I concur with the Ld. ASG, without commenting upon the sanctity of the information, that the imputations are really objectionable in the said website. However, even if the said imputations are found to be objectionable in nature, I cannot but disagree with Ld. ASG that the said material is seditious in nature. The imputations may be false, exaggerated or even with a mischievous intent but the same cannot be stigmatized being seditious unless they have tendency to foment violence.”