Delhi HC grants bail to JNU student leader

New Delhi (PTI): JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar, arrested in a sedition case, was on Wednesday granted interim conditional bail for six months by the Delhi High Court, which said he will “not participate actively or passively in any activity which may be termed as anti-national”.

The high court also enjoined on him, as president of JNU Students Union, that he “will make all efforts within his power to control anti-national activities in the campus.”

“Taking into consideration the facts and circumstances, I am inclined to release the petitioner on interim bail for a period of six months,” Justice Pratibha Rani said, while making it clear that the accused will have to cooperate in the ongoing investigation and present himself before the investigators, as and when required.

The judge also considered the family background of Kanhaiya, whose mother is an Anganwadi worker earning a paltry amount of Rs 3,000 on which the entire family survives, and ordered that he be released on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 10,000 and a surety of like amount.

The judge directed that the accused’s surety “should also be either a member of the faculty or a person related to him in a manner that he exercises control on him not only with respect to appearance before the court but also to ensure that his thoughts and energy are channelised in a constructive manner.”

While giving monetary concession for furnishing the bond for release, the high court said Kanhaiya has to “furnish an undertaking to the effect that he will not participate actively or passively in any activity which may be termed as anti-national.”

In the 23-page order, the judge said, Kanhaiya would not leave the country without the permission and the person standing surety for him shall furnish an undertaking on the lines similar to that of the accused.

The judge also observed that “during the period spent by petitioner in judicial custody, he might have introspected about the events that had taken place. To enable him to remain in the mainstream at present, I am inclined to provide conservative method of treatment.”

The judge said, “Once the decision of releasing the petitioner on interim bail is taken, now the question comes as to what should be the amount for monetary security. In his speech dated February 11, 2016, the petitioner has claimed that his mother works as Anganwadi worker and earns Rs 3,000 per month on which the entire family survives.”

“If this aspect is considered, then the amount required to be filled in the personal bond and surety bond cannot be so high as to put him in a position that he cannot avail the interim bail,” the judge said.

“The time is ripe that while giving some concession to the petitioner on monetary aspect for purpose of furnishing the bond, he can be required to furnish an undertaking to the effect that he will not participate actively or passively in any activity which may be termed as anti-national.

“Apart from that, as president of JNU Students Union, he will make all efforts within his power to control anti- national activities in the campus,” the high court said.

While laying down the conditions for Kanhaiya’s release on interim bail, the high court said that the personal bond of Rs 10,000 and an undertaking with surety, who should preferrebly be a faculty member of JNU, will be to the satisfaction of concerned Metropolitan Magistrate or the link Magistrate with the condition that “he shall not leave the country without the permission of the court”.

The high court took strong exception to the manner in which slogans were raised and protest staged by the students carrying photographs and posters of Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat, mastermind of hijacking of a passenger airline to Lahore in 1971 who was hanged in 1984, on the campus.

“The feelings or the protest reflected in the slogans need introspection by the student community whose photographs are available on record holding posters, carrying photographs, of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat,” the judge said.

The high court noted that Kanhaiya belongs to an intellectual class pursuing PhD from International School of Studies, JNU, which is considered as hub of intellectuals.

The court said that his political ideology or affiliation has to be pursued within the framework of Indian Constitution as freedom of speech and expression is subject to reasonable restrictions under Article 19(2) of the Constitution.

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