Disha Ravi bail: Delhi court grants bail to activist in Toolkit case

A Delhi court granted bail to 22-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi in the toolkit case while observing that the present evidence on record is “scanty and sketchy”. “Considering the scanty and sketchy evidence available on record, I do not find any palpable reasons to breach the general rule of bail against a 22-year-old young lady, with absolutely blemish-free criminal antecedents and having firm roots in society, and send her to jail,” said Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Dharmendra Rana. While granting bail to Ravi on furnishing a bail bond of Rs 1 lakh and two sureties of like amount, the court further noted that “resistance to the bail plea seems to be more of ornamental in nature. “I am conscious of the fact that it is very difficult to collect evidence for the offence of conspiracy but I’m equally conscious of the fact that what is difficult to prove for the prosecution in the affirmative is virtually impossible for the defence to prove in the negative,” the court observed. “I’m also conscious of the fact that the investigation is at a nascent stage and police is in the process of collecting more evidence, however, the investigating agency made a conscious choice to arrest the applicant accused upon the strength of material so far collected and now they cannot be permitted to further restrict the liberty of a citizen on the basis of propitious anticipation,” he added. The court further noted that nothing was brought to its notice that could support the police’s claim that violence took place due to the toolkit. “Except for a bare assertion, no evidence has been brought to my notice to support the contention that any violence took place at any of the Indian Embassies pursuant to the sinister designs of the applicant /accused and her co­conspirators,” the court said. The court while granting bail to Disha has directed her to continue to cooperate with the ongoing investigations and shall join the investigation as and when summoned by the Investigating Officer. “She shall scrupulously appear at each and every stage of the proceedings before concerned Court so as not to cause any obstruction or delay to its progress,” the court said while also adding that she shall not leave the country without the permission of the court. “The perusal of the said ‘Toolkit’ reveals that any call for any kind Of violence is conspicuously absent. In my considered opinion, citizens are conscience keepers of government in any democratic nation. They cannot be put behind the bars simply because they choose to disagree with the State policies. The offence of sedition cannot be invoked to minister to the wounded vanity of the governments”, the court said The 22-year-old activist has already been in custody for 9 days. ASJ Dharmendra Rana will be hearing the bail application filed by Disha Ravi’s co-accused Shantanu Muluk on Wednesday.

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