Considering scanty and sketchy evidence on record, Disha Ravi granted bail
Kanwar Inder Singh/ royalpatiala.in
Today, the court of Dharmender Rana, Additional Sessions Judge ASJ-02, NDD/ PHC/ New Delhi granted bail to Disha Ravi, the 22-year-old climate activist arrested February 13 in connection with the “toolkit” case and charged with sedition and conspiring against the country subject to provision of two sureties of ₹ 1 lakh each, shall continue to cooperate with the ongoing investigation, shall not leave the country without the permission of the court.
In his full order Additional Sessions Judge Dharmendra Rana made several strong observations on the right to dissent and freedom of speech and expression.
“Considering scanty and sketchy evidence on record, I do not find any palpable reason to breach rule of bail for a 22-year-old girl who has absolutely no criminal antecedent and having firm roots in the society” the judge said, adding, “… sedition cannot be invoked to minister to wounded vanity of the government”.
“Even our founding fathers accorded due respect to divergence of opinion by recognising the freedom of speech and expression as an inviolable fundamental right. The right to dissent is firmly enshrined under Article 19 of The Constitution of India,” Judge Rana said.
He also dismissed Delhi Police claims that Disha Ravi’s sharing of the ‘toolkit’ with teenage Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg amounted to conspiring against the country.
“A citizen has the fundamental rights to use the best means of imparting and receiving communication, as long as (it) is permissible… to have access to audiences abroad,” he noted.
Judge Rana also dismissed arguments that Disha Ravi had conspired with the Poetic Justice Foundation (PJF) – Delhi Police alleged that several Zoom calls were held by Disha Ravi and Mo Dhaliwal in the days leading up to the Republic Day violence.
“There is not even an iota of evidence brought to my notice connecting the perpetrators of the violence on 26.01.2021 with the said PJF or the applicant/accused,” Judge Rana added.
Judge Rana also noticed that “ except for a bare assertion, no evidence has been brought to my notice to support the contention that any violation took place at any of the Indian Embassies pursuant to the sinter designs of the applicant/ accused and her co-conspirators.”
Moreover, the Judge observed that “no link established on record between the applicant/ accused and the banned Sikh for Justice organization.