JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar, arrested in a sedition case, was today 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 circmstances, 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 3000 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 of the trial court and the person standing surety for him shall also 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.
“He may have any political affiliation or ideology. He has every right to pursue that but it can only be within the framework of our Constitution. India is a living example of unity in diversity. Freedom of expression enjoyed by every citizen can be subjected to reasonable restrictions under Article 19(2) of our Constitution,” the judge said.
The high court said that the faculty of JNU has to play its role in guiding them to the right path so that they can contribute to the growth of the nation and to achieve the object and vision for which the university was established.
“The reason behind anti-national views in the mind of students who raised slogans on death anniversiry of Afzal Guru, who was convicted for attack on our Parliament, which led to this situation have not only to be found by them but remedial steps are also required to be taken in this regard by those managing the affiars of the JNU so that there is no recurrence of such incident,” the judge said.
(REOPENS LGD 26)
The high court also made strong remarks on the slogans raised by the accused students, saying they cannot claim protection under fundamental right to speech and expression particularly in view of the fact that the investigation into the case was at nascent stage.
It considered the entire incident “as a kind of infection” from which such students are suffering and needs to be cured “before becoming epidemic” and “surgical intervention” is required when the first line of treatment fails.
“The investigation in this case is at nascent stage. The thoughts reflected in the slogans raised by some of the students of JNU who organised and participated in that programme cannot be claimed to be protected as fundamental right to free speech and expression.
“I consider this as a kind of infection from which such students are suffering which needs to be controlled/cured before it becomes an epidemic.
“Whenever such infection is spread in a limb, effort is made to cure the same by giving antibiotics orally and if that does not work, by following second line of treatment. Sometimes it may require surgical intervention also.
However, if the infection results in infecting the limb to the extent that it may become gangrene, amputation is the only treatment, the judge said.
REOPENS LGD 27
While expressing reservation over the slogans raised by the students allegedly hailing Guru and Bhat as martyrs, the High Court said while dealing with the bail application of Kanhaiya, “it has to be kept in mind by all concerned that they are enjoying this freedom only because our borders are guarded by our armed and paramilitary forces.”
“Our forces are protecting our frontiers in the most difficult terrain in the world i.E. Siachen Glacier or Rann of Kutch. It is a case of raising anti-national slogans which do have the effect of threatening national integrity,” the court said.
“Suffice it to note that such persons (accused students) enjoy the freedom to raise such slogans in the comfort of University Campus but without realising that they are in this safe environment because our forces are there at the battle field situated at the highest altitude of the world where even oxygen is so scarce that those who are shouting anti-national slogans holding posters of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat close to their chest honoring their martyrdom, may not be even able to withstand those conditions even for an hour.
“This kind of slogans raised may have demoralizing effect on the family of those martyrs who returned home in coffin draped in tricolor,” the High Court said and reminded Kanhaiya that “rights and duties are two sides of the same coin.”
The judge said though Kanhaiya was claiming rights gauranteed under the constitution “he has also to be reminded that under Part-IV under Article 51A of Constitution of India fundamental duties of every citizen have been specified alongwith the fact that rights and duties are two sides of the same coin.”
As President of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union, Kanhaiya was expected to be responsible and accountable for any anti-national event organised in the campus. Freedom of speech guaranteed to the citizens of this country under the Constitution of India has enough room for every citizen to follow his own ideology or political affiliation within the framework of our Constitution, the High Court said.
( Source – PTI )