Orders on anticipatory bail plea in sedition case posted for January 27

The orders on the anticipatory bail petition filed by Nalini Balakumar, who has been booked for sedition by the Mysuru city police for holding aloft a “free Kashmir” placard, will be pronounced on Monday.

The Second Additional District Judge, Mysuru, R. Mendonca, is hearing the anticipatory bail petitions of Ms. Balakumar and Maridevaiah, president of the University of Mysore’s Research Scholars’ Association. During a two-hour hearing on Friday, a battery of six advocates from different parts of the State argued in favour of Ms. Balakumar while public prosecutor H.D. Anand Kumar opposed the bail.

Mr. Kumar sought to dismiss the concerns expressed by the petitioners’ lawyers that Ms. Balakumar would be subjected to harassment. Also, an investigation by the police will not necessarily lead to arrest, he said, before pointing out that taking the accused into police custody was the prerogative of the investigating officer.

Baburaj, who argued for Ms. Balakumar, said the petitioner was only seeking removal of the restrictions imposed by the government in Kashmir. “Free Kashmir means there should be no restrictions. People should be allowed to move around freely. This is what she meant. Unfortunately, it has been misinterpreted,” she said.

Also, Mr. Baburaj said, Ms. Balakumar’s concept of nationality covered the entire country, including Kashmir. “If anyone from Kashmir or Kerala or Assam is hurt, it pains her as she is a citizen of India,” he said.

Prasanna, another advocate, said the petitioner’s actions did not incite violence to overthrow an elected government and, hence, did not amount to sedition. “Based on the available evidence, there is no case for sedition,” he said.

Contending that there was a difference between free speech and hate speech aimed at overthrowing an elected government, he said every citizen was entitled to having differences of opinion with the elected government while also loving the country at the same time. “Criticism of government policy does not amount to sedition,” he said.

Though the public prosecutor for the bail petitions of Mr. Maridevaiah and Ms. Balakumar is the same person, Raghunath, who appeared for Mr. Maridevaiah, said the orders on the petitions would be issued separately.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 5:43:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/orders-on-anticipatory-bail-plea-in-sedition-case-posted-for-january-27/article30645857.ece

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