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The students were arrested for allegedly raising pro-Pakistan slogans and posting it on social media.
A Dharwad District Court today denied the bail applications filed on behalf of the three Kashmiri students who were arrested on charges of sedition for allegedly raising pro-Pakistan slogans and posting it on social media (Basti Aashiq Sofi v. The State of Karnataka).
The order passed by Additional District and Sessions Judge KN Gangadhar, sitting at Hubli, reads,
Dharwad court order
On the point of grant of bail, the public prosecutor raised serious objections stating that the slogan raised by the engineering students "Pakistan Zindabad" was made with an intention to provoke the sentiments of the other students. Their act is an anti-national and the same requires criminal action against them, she argued.
Further, the public prosecutor added that the petitioners are residents of Jammu & Kashmir, and if they are released on bail, it would be difficult to secure their presence, as and when required by the Investigating Officer.
She also brought to the attention of the Court that there was a need to examine the reasons that prompted them to behave in this way and post the "seditious" video. She additionally stressed on the fact that the act of the petitioners cannot be viewed lightly, as it was an attempt to disturb the safety and security of the nation.
While arguing for grant of bail, counsel for petitioners, Advocate Prasanna R, stated that at present, the political system is using Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (Sedition), as a weapon against those who air their disapprobation against the government's policies.
Likewise, in the present case also, the students made the video within the four walls of their hostel room and later, the video was deleted by them. This will not attract the provisions of Section 124A and 153A, the counsel contended.
Prasanna also argued that simply keeping them in judicial custody would not serve any purpose whatsoever. Further, if they are released on bail, the question of evidence tampering would not arise, as the complainant, being a huge institution, cannot not influenced by the petitioners.
It was further contended that the petitioners were not intending to create any public disorder by airing any disapprobation or disaffection towards the government in power or against the country.
After hearing the arguments of both parties, the Court noted that there is a reasonable accusation to invoke the provision of Sedition. In this regard, the order reads,
Dharwad court order
Therefore, in light of the above, the Dharwad Court denied bail to the three engineering students from Jammu & Kashmir.
However, the Court made it clear that it was too early to examine the quality of the evidence, and that the only purpose of the present case was to examine whether or not the petitioners are eligible for bail.
When the students were arrested, the Hubli Bar Association had resolved that none of its members would appear for them. Reports also surfaced that lawyers were not allowed to file bail applications for the students.