A single judge bench of the Karnataka High Court will hear a public interest litigation (PIL) which seeks quashing of the FIR in the contentious sedition case in Bidar.
The Times of India reported that the HC division bench led by Chief Justice AS Oka declined to hear the petition stating it can only be heard by a single-judge bench of the HC.
The mother of a 11-year-old student, Nazbunissa and the head-teacher Fareeda Begum had courted arrest and will continue to remain in jail till February 14, which is when the district court will pronounce the order on their bail plea.
The two women were arrested on January 30 over charges of sedition after a school play held on January 21 allegedly voiced dissent against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
The arrests were made after a police complaint by Nilesh Rakshala, an activist from the Akhila Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), seeking an investigation into the school play.
In his complaint, Nilesh accused the school management of sedition and 'insulting' the Prime Minister through the play. Nazbunissa's daughter Ayesha* (name changed) is alleged to have delivered the dialogues which 'insulted' Prime Minister Modi.
Basaveshwara Hira, the Deputy Superintendent of Police of Bidar district, led the investigation into the play. He visited the school five times including once when he was accompanied by police officers in uniform. The police's actions at the school were heavily criticised after a photograph of the police questioning students in uniform was shared widely.
Bidar police defended the repeated questioning of students in the school stating that they were interviewing students in batches and that they were "collecting information about the play". Students in the school, however, had earlier told TNM that they were intimidated by the police's repeated questioning.
Incidentally, the public prosecutor opposed bail to the two women despite the fact that Pravin Sood, Karnataka Director General and Inspector General of Police (DG&IGP), had reportedly promised a delegation of lawyers recently that the state will not oppose the bail.