Aisha Sultana gets interim anticipatory bail

Filmmaker should be given bail if she is arrested by the Kavaratti police when she appears before them on June 20, says Kerala HC

The Kerala High Court on Thursday granted interim anticipatory bail to Aisha Sultana, filmmaker, 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) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for her alleged remark, in a Malayalam TV channel discussion, that the Union government had used bio-weapon 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 them 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.

In force 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 Ms. 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 its implications. When she realised her mistake, she had tendered an apology. 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 the statement of the petitioner had a tendency to excite disaffection among the people towards the Union government. 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. They had given sufficient time to the petitioner to appear before them and explain her stand.

The court reserved its verdict in the case.

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