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Kerala HC grants interim bail to Aisha Sultana in sedition case

KC Gopakumar Kochi | Updated on July 12, 2021

Aisha Sultana

Sultana directed to appear before police on June 20 for interrogation

 

The Kerala High Court on Thursday granted interim anticipatory bail to filmmaker Aisha Sultana, in a sedition case registered against her.

Justice Ashok Menon ordered that she be granted interim anticipatory bail if she is arrested when she appears before the Kavaratti police on June 20 for interrogation in connection with the sedition case.

She has been charged with the offences under Sections 124 A(sedition) and 153 B(assertions against national integration) IPC for her comment during a Malayalam TV channel discussion that the Central Government had used bioweapon against the islanders.

The court while passing the interim order also directed her to comply with the notice given by the police asking her to appear before the police on June 20 for interrogation. The court also made it clear that if she was arrested, the police should allow the presence of her counsel during further interrogation.

Bail valid for a week

The bail order will remain in force for a week. The court ordered that the interim anticipatory bail be granted on her executing a bond for ₹50,000 with two solvent sureties for the like sum to the satisfaction of the investigation officer when she is arrested.

When Sultana's petition came up for hearing, P.Vijayabhanu, senior counsel for the petitioner submitted that she had made the statement during a heated discussion,and she did not know the implications of her statement. When she realised her mistake, she had tendered an apology for making the remarks. In fact, she would appear before the police and cooperate with the investigation.

Opposing the plea for anticipatory bail, S.Manu, counsel for the Kavaratti police submitted that baseless assertion by the petitioner during a channel discussion that the Centre had used bioweapon had a tendency to excite disaffection among the people towards the Government of India. She had reiterated the statement throughout her discussions, and it had the potential of creating violence in the islands. The police had not acted in haste. They could have arrested her immediately on registering the crime. But they had given sufficient time to the petitioner to appear before the police for explaining her stand. In fact, the police would conduct a fair investigation into the case.

The court also reserved its verdict in the case.

Published on June 17, 2021

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