JNU row: Delhi HC grants 6 months interim bail to Kanhaiya Kumar

The High Court made it clear that a JNU faculty member has to stand as surety for Kanhaiya.

New Delhi: JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar, arrested in a sedition case, was granted interim conditional bail for six months by the Delhi High Court on Wednesday, which said he will "not participate actively or passively in any activity which may be termed as anti-national".

The high court also enjoined on him, as president of JNU students union, that he "will make all efforts within his power to control anti-national activities in the campus."

"Taking into consideration the facts and circumstances, I am inclined to release the petitioner on interim bail for a period of six months," Justice Pratibha Rani said, while making it clear that the accused will have to cooperate in the ongoing investigation and present himself before the investigators, as and when required.

Read: 2 videos of JNU event 'manipulated,' finds forensic probe: sources

The judge also considered the family background of Kanhaiya, whose mother is an Anganwadi worker earning a paltry amount of Rs 3000 on which the entire family survives, and ordered that he be released on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 10,000 and a surety of like amount.

The judge directed that the accused's surety "should also be either a member of the faculty or a person related to him in a manner that he exercises control on him not only with respect to appearance before the court but also to ensure that his thoughts and energy are channelised in a constructive manner."

While giving monetary concession for furnishing the bond for release, the high court said Kanhaiya has to "furnish an undertaking to the effect that he will not participate actively or passively in any activity which may be termed as anti-national."

The High Court took strong exception to the manner in which slogans were raised and protest staged by the students carrying photographs and posters of Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat, mastermind of hijacking of a passenger airline to Lahore in 1971 who was hanged in 1984, on the campus.

Read: Kanhaiya's bail good news for us, hope normalcy returns: JNU

"The feelings or the protest reflected in the slogans need introspection by the student community whose photographs are available on record holding posters, carrying photographs, of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat," the judge said.

The high court noted that Kanhaiya belongs to an intellectual class pursuing PhD from International School of Studies, JNU, which is considered as hub of intellectuals.

The court said that his political ideology or affiliation has to be pursued within the framework of Indian Constitution as freedom of speech and expression is subject to reasonable restrictions under Article 19(2) of the Constitution.

"He may have any political affiliation or ideology. He has every right to pursue that but it can only be within the framework of our Constitution. India is a living example of unity in diversity. Freedom of expression enjoyed by every citizen can be subjected to reasonable restrictions under Article 19(2) of our Constitution," the judge said.

Read: My son is not a terrorist, the world will know soon: Kanhaiya Kumar's mother

The High Court said that the faculty of JNU has to play its role in guiding them to the right path so that they can contribute to the growth of the nation and to achieve the object and vision for which the university was established.

"The reason behind anti-national views in the mind of students who raised slogans on death anniversary of Afzal Guru, who was convicted for attack on our Parliament, which led to this situation have not only to be found by them but remedial steps are also required to be taken in this regard by those managing the affairs of the JNU so that there is no recurrence of such incident," the judge said.

The High Court also made strong remarks on the slogans raised by the accused students, saying they cannot claim protection under fundamental right to speech and expression particularly in view of the fact that the investigation into the case was at nascent stage.

Read: Cheers of 'azaadi', 'laal salaam' for Kanhaiya among JNU students

It considered the entire incident "as a kind of infection" from which such students are suffering and needs to be cured "before becoming epidemic" and "surgical intervention" is required when the first line of treatment fails.

"The investigation in this case is at nascent stage. The thoughts reflected in the slogans raised by some of the students of JNU who organised and participated in that programme cannot be claimed to be protected as fundamental right to free speech and expression.”

"I consider this as a kind of infection from which such students are suffering which needs to be controlled/cured before it becomes an epidemic.”

"Whenever such infection is spread in a limb, effort is made to cure the same by giving antibiotics orally and if that does not work, by following second line of treatment. Sometimes it may require surgical intervention also. However, if the infection results in infecting the limb to the extent that it may become gangrene, amputation is the only treatment,” the judge said.

( Source : PTI )
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