The Delhi High Court has granted bail to eight persons who were arrested for protesting and creating ruckus outside the residence of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, noting that their continued detention was not required for proper investigation of the offences.
“There is no allegation of damage to public property through arson and fire or other means on a scale that would clearly be a far more serious matter than what has been alleged against the applicants,” Justice Asha Menon said.
The judge said the allegations are that the protesters had vandalised some of the CCTV cameras and an arm of a boom barrier and had also smeared paint on the main gate of the CM residence.
“With regard to the damage caused to public property, which cannot be at any stage certainly overlooked, but the facts are to be considered to reckon what damage has been caused,” Justice Menon said, adding that all accused are mostly in their twenties except for three who are older.
On March 30, a protest led by Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) workers, including its national president Tejasvi Surya, outside Mr. Kejriwal’s residence over his remark on the movie The Kashmir Files turn unruly.
According to the police, the FIR was registered when the protest was held near the CM’s residence despite a request for the same being declined by a senior police officer.
The FIR stated that the accused had jumped police barricades installed at the CM’s residence and an attempt was made to forcibly enter the residence. The protesters obstructed the police officers and used criminal force resulting in a few of them sustaining injuries, the FIR stated.
‘No mention of arms’
The High Court said “significantly there is no mention of any weapon or arms, nor of any call for violence” in the FIR. The judge said the FIR merely states that the accused jumped the barricades and when the police sought to reason with them they did not listen and kept moving towards the CM’s residence.
“There is a reference to jostling, during which some policemen received injuries. Four policemen stated to be injured are not hospitalised,” it noted. The judge granted bail to all eight accused, noting that they have been in custody for 14 days.
It said there is no possibility of the accused tampering with evidence or inducing or threatening any witness as the witnesses are the policemen who were on duty and the staff of the CM residence and the CCTV footage has already been preserved.
As a condition for bail, the High Court directed all eight accused to not leave the NCT of Delhi without intimating the Station House Officer concerned. It also directed them to drop a PIN location on Google maps so that their location is available to the investigating officer.