Bengaluru student, charged with sedition for raising 'Pakistan Zindabad' slogans at anti-CAA rally, granted bail after 3 months in jail

Amulya Leona Noronha, a college student from Bengaluru who was charged with sedition for raising the 'Pakistan zindabad' slogan at an anti-Citizenship Act (CAA) rally earlier this year, has been granted bail by the magistrate court under the provision of CrPC Section 167(2). Amulya is expected to have the bail order by Friday.

Manasi Chandu June 11, 2020 23:31:05 IST
Bengaluru student, charged with sedition for raising 'Pakistan Zindabad' slogans at anti-CAA rally, granted bail after 3 months in jail

Amulya Leona Noronha, a college student from Bengaluru who was charged with sedition for raising the 'Pakistan zindabad' slogan at an anti-Citizenship Act (CAA) rally earlier this year, has been granted bail by the magistrate court under Section 167(2) of CrPC. The bail order is expected to be passed on Friday.

On Wednesday, 10 June, a sessions court had denied her a regular bail application on the grounds that the accused “may abscond and involve herself in similar offences”, but on the same day, Amulya's lawyers were able to get her bail by moving a default bail plea in a magisterial court.

After spending nearly three months in jail, the 19-year-old journalism student is expected to be released from Parappana Agrahara jail on Friday.

Although Amulya's lawyers had been pressing the sessions court for an urgent hearing even before the coronavirus lockdown began, the court refused to hear the matter as the Bengaluru Police said they could not file a chargesheet against the student citing restrictions due to the lockdown.

Speaking to Firstpost, R Prasanna who is a part of the team of advocates that has been arguing the case in court said, "The regular bail application which was moved under CRPC of Section 439 (special powers given to a high court or sessions court in granting a bail order), the court had rejected the plea. So we approached the magistrate court for a default bail under whose jurisdiction the alleged crime was committed, under Section 167 (2) of CrPC which states that defines the statutory time by when the charge sheet has to be filed."

The time period defined under Section 167 (2) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) is that if a charge sheet is not filed within 60 to 90 days, a default bail application can be given.

Bengaluru student charged with sedition for raising Pakistan Zindabad slogans at antiCAA rally granted bail after 3 months in jail

On 20 February, Amulya had raised 'Pakistan zindabad' slogan at an anti-CAA rally organised by AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi in Bengaluru. ANI

Prasanna said, "We had moved the default bail plea on 26 May and again on 29 May which were dragged on due to various complications. On 2 June, we filed a physical application, and subsequently, the state filed the charge sheet on 3 June. As the state had failed to file the charge sheet within the stipulated time, we moved to the magistrate court for default bail that was granted."

According to the advocate, although the state had argued that they were allowed for an extension in the time allotted, the magistrate court had ruled in favour of Amulya.

Senior advocate and former state public prosecutor BT Venkatesh is currently at the forefront representing those who have been booked for speaking against CAA, including Amulya, in the state of Karnataka. Speaking to Firstpost, the lawyer noted: "It seems like we are going back in time - from a democratic nation to an undemocratic one."

Venkatesh said there was a paradigm shift in how "systems were making life hard" for students who were being prosecuted for just speaking up. "It's very sad to young students being charged and prosecuted for just making statements. This speaks volumes of the level we have gone to be one of the most un-democratic systems," said the former state prosecutor.

Earlier this year, on 20 February, Amulya had raised 'Pakistan zindabad' slogan at an anti-CAA rally organised by AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi in Bengaluru. A case was almost immediately registered against her under Section 124A (Offence of sedition) of the Indian Penal Code.

The student was booked under various sections Indian Penal Code (IPC) for sedition, namely — Sections 124-A, 153[A], 153-B, 505[2] of IPC, which included  “disaffection towards the government of India”, “for wanton vilification or attacks upon the religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc. of any particular group or class or upon the founders and prophets of a religion”, for “Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration” and for “statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill will between classes”.

The organisers had invited her to address the gathering soon after Owaisi came on stage. Owaisi, who addressed the gathering later on, said he did not agree with the woman, whom he described as "so-called liberal".

In one of her Facebook posts on 16 February, Amulya had hailed all south Asian countries, including Pakistan. She said that every citizen of a country is entitled to basic benefits and rights and that the government is responsible for every one of them equally.

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