The Kerala High Court on Tuesday granted anticipatory bail to dubbing artist Bhagyalakshmi, activists Diya Sana and Sreelekshmi Arackal, all accused in a case relating to assault on YouTuber Vijay P. Nair.
Justice Ashok Menon ordered that they be released on bail in the event of their arrest.
The court passed the verdict while allowing an anticipatory bail petition filed by them.
The prosecution case is that on September 26, Ms. Bhagyalakshmi and the other two trespassed into the lodge of Mr. Nair and assaulted him for making derogatory and sleazy remarks against women on his YouTube channel. The incident was live-streamed on the Facebook of one of the accused.
Ms. Bhagyalakshmi and the two others have been charged with offences under Sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 506 (criminal intimidation), 294b (sings, recites, or utters any obscene song, ballad or words, in or near any public place), 452 (house-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault, or wrongful restraint) and 392 (robbery) of the Indian Penal Code.
The Additional Sessions Court, Thiruvananthapuram, had earlier dismissed their anticipatory bail pleas, accepting the argument of the prosecution that grant of bail would send the wrong message to the public and it may prompt others to take the law into their hands.
The petitioners contended that the offence of trespass could not be invoked against them as it took place in a public place. Besides, they went to the YouTuber’s lodge on his invitation. The robbery charge could not be slapped against them as they had no intention to commit robbery. In fact, the materials, including laptop and mobile phone taken away from his lodge, were handed over to the police by them.
Mr. Nair was arrested and later released on bail in a case registered on a complaint by the artist and others. Opposing the bail pleas of the activists, Mr. Nair contended that the petitioners had a clear intention to trespass and assault him. They brought an ink bottle and poured it over him and thereby humiliated him.