The Bombay High Court this week confirmed the anticipatory bail plea of a 23-year-old trans man booked on charges of sedition for raising an “objectionable”; slogan at a gathering at Azad Maidan last year. The High Court last year granted interim relief to the 23-year-old, which was completed by a single bench of Justice NJ Jamadar on Saturday.
“In the background of the nature of the allegation and the reasons stated by this Court, while granting interim relief, which ultimately governs the determination of the application, in this period, the custodial interrogation of the applicant does not seem appropriate. said the court.
In February last year, the Azad Maidan police had named more than 50 people in an FIR, alleging that the slogan “Sharjeel tere sapne ko, hum manzil tak kahenge” was raised during the gathering.
This was in reference to activist Sharjeel Imam, who was booked for sedition last year in Delhi for alleged inflammatory speeches during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens.
Azad Maidan police claimed that the 23-year-old had attended a gathering of people in support of the LGBTQI community at Azad Maidan on February 1 and raised objectionable slogans.
While granting him bail last year, the high court had said prima facie the slogans were raised to show solidarity with others who were exercising their fundamental right to dissent.
The court had then said that only showing solidarity with the person or group which is opposing the CAA and NRC It may not be enough to accuse a person of creating dissatisfaction against the government and mere sloganeering cannot be considered a threat to the integrity of the nation.
During the hearing of the anticipatory bail plea filed by 23-year-old lawyer Vijay Hiremath, the prosecutor told the court that the investigation has reached an “advanced stage” and only the forensic report is awaited. The High Court has stipulated conditions which also include that the applicant shall regularly appear in the court after the filing of the charge sheet, appear before the Inquiry Officer on being directed and shall not leave the country without the prior permission of the court.
Last month, a sessions court had confirmed the anticipatory bail pleas of two others registered in the same case. The court had observed that the police have nowhere indicated their active role in the offenses on which they have been charged. All three were then students of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences.