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A Bangalore Court on Wednesday rejected the bail application filed by Amulya Leona Noronha, who was arrested in February on sedition charges for allegedly raising pro-Pakistan slogans at an anti-CAA protest.
The court denied bail to Amulya on the ground that the investigation was not complete, and if granted bail, she may abscond. This may make it difficult to proceed with the investigation, the court held.
Emhasizing on this, the order passed by LX Additional City Civil & Sessions Judge Vidyadhar Shirahatti reads,
LX Additional City Civil & Sessions Judge Shirahatti
Counsel for the petitioner Advocate B T Venkatesh argued that she had not committed any offence as alleged by the police. He submitted that she did not have any intention or mens rea to commit the alleged offence, which is an essential element under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with sedition.
He also stated that Pakistan is not declared as an enemy country. If at all the petitioner raises slogans like 'Pakisthan Zindabad' , it does not amount to any offence, Venkatesh argued.
It was also submitted that Amulya, a 19-year-old girl student who was yet to appear for her college examinations, ought to be granted bail. If granted bail, she was ready to abide by all the conditions imposed by the court, Venkatesh had argued.
Countering her bail application, the prosecution contended that Amulya had the intention to incite people to create disorder, and by raising the slogans, create law and order problems.
It was also alleged that she had resorted to similar activities in the past, in order to spread hatred/disaffection towards the religion and the government established by law.
After taking note of the rival contentions, the court went on to reject the arguments of the petitioner on the grounds that the police had not filed the chargesheet.
"In the present case, this court has not recorded any evidence and has not received a charge sheet. Even, the I.O. has not filed the challan or charge sheet. Therefore, it is very difficult to look into the materials in respect to the petitioner having Mens rea or not."
Responding to the petitioner's argument that Pakistan is not declared as an enemy country, the court opined that,
"It is my opinion that there are no materials to show that Pakistan is or not an enemy country. But the slogans which are alleged to have been used by the petitioner will certainly affect the feelings of public, law order and public peace."
Further, the court was of the opinion that as the investigation was not yet completed, the arguments raised by the petitioner are to be considered at the time of trial.
With these observations, the court went on to reject Amulya's bail application.
Amulya was arrested on February 20 this year, under Sections 124-A, 153 (A), 153-B, 505 (2) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). After being in police custody for five days, she was subsequently sent to judicial custody and has been in prison since.