What the courts say in Kanhaiya’s bail order

Today, JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar, who was arrested for investigation with relation to anti-national activities was released by the courts on “conditional interim bail”. This did not stop some journalists, who at one point had  called Ishrat Jahan an “innocent, moon-faced teenager”, from frothing at their mouths and declaring this bail to be an acquittal:

The courts will eventually decide whether he is innocent or not, but as of now at least, the court order reveals a lot. The judgement itself starts off with a patriotic song. This should indicate where things are heading:

‘Rang hara Hari Singh Nalve se, Rang laal hai Lal Bahadur se, Rang bana basanti Bhagat Singh, Rang aman ka veer Jawahar se. Mere Desh ki Dharti sona ugle Ugle here moti mere desh ki dharti’

The judgement states that the slogan “Pakistan Zindabad” does not figure in the list of 30 slogans filed in the status report by the state.

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The next key point is that the judge states that Kapil Sibal, who is representing Kanhaiya, has accepted that Kanhaiya was at the spot where the slogans were shouted. While Sibal maintains Kanhaiya had no role to play in the ongoings of 9th February, this is also an admission of the fact, which was apparent from many videos, that Kanhaiya was very much present there. The judge also states that

His presence at the spot on the day of incident when alleged antinational event was organised, is not disputed

What Kanhaiya was doing there is a different argument, but this acceptance of Kanhaiya being present there flies in the face of TV journalists who couldn’t see him:

The judgement also states that the police has statement of witnesses who say Kanhaiyya talked to the concerned JNU authorities showing his resentment about the cancellation of the permission for the event on 9th February. This, the police say, is indication that Kanhaiyya was more than a bystander. This needs to be examined by a court.

The judge then refers to some of the slogans raised at the 9th February event:

1. AFZAL GURU MAQBOOL BHATT JINDABAD.

2. BHARAT KI BARBADI TAK JUNG RAHEGI JUNG RAHEGI

3. GO INDIA GO BACK

4. INDIAN ARMY MURDABAD

5. BHARAT TERE TUKKDE HONGE– INSHAALLAHA INSHAALLAHA

6. AFZAL KI HATYA NAHI SAHENGE NAHI SAHENGE

7. BANDOOK KI DUM PE LENGE AAZADI.’

The judge takes serious note of these slogans and says that

Freedom of speech guaranteed to the citizens of this country under the Constitution of India has enough room for every citizen to follow his own ideology or political affiliation within the framework of our Constitution“.

She also reminds everyone that such freedom is afforded to him “because our forces are there at the battle field situated at the highest altitude of the world where even the oxygen is so scarce that those who are shouting anti-national slogans holding posters of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhatt close to their chest honoring their martyrdom, may not be even able to withstand those conditions for an hour even.

The judge further notes that:

The kind of slogans raised may have demoralizing effect on the family of those martyrs who returned home in coffin draped in tricolor

The judge also has a few words for the JNU faculty:

The faculty of JNU also 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 Jawaharlal Nehru University was established.

The judge then says the JNU administration should find out why such thoughts enter the students’ minds and asks them to take remedial steps so that there is no recurrence of such incident.

In harsher words, the judge also chastises the students saying:

The investigation in this case is at nascent stage. The thoughts reflected in the slogans raised by some of the students of JNU who organized and participated in that programme cannot be claimed to be protected as fundamental right to freedom of 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 some 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 becomes gangrene, amputation is the only treatment

Finally, the judge says:

To enable him to remain in the main stream, at present I am inclined to provide conservative method of treatment

Further, considering Kanhaiyya’s claim that his mother earns barely Rs 3000 per month, the judge sets the bail bond at Rs 10000.

The judge ends the order with the statement that the observations made above are only for the purpose of deciding the bail application and shall not be considered as an expression on merits.

Seeing the language and remarks of the judge, it wont be surprising to see some people launching attacks on the judge and her “hyper-nationalism”.

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