Justice Prathibha Rani of the Delhi High Court may have granted interim conditional bail for six months to JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar arrested in a sedition case, but the judge made some scathing remarks about students who took part in protests in JNU.
In an apparent show of cinematic nationalism, the judge begins her judgment with the song 'Mere Desh Ki Dharti' from the 1967 movie Úpkaar.
The judge then asks why during spring the colour of peace is eluding the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). Not sticking to just pronouncing the grounds for granting bail, the judgment elaborates on why the judge feels sloganeering at JNU is dangerous.
Granting bail, the high court also enjoined on him, as president of JNU students union, that he "will make all efforts within his power to control anti-national activities in the campus."
"Taking into consideration the facts and circmstances, I am inclined to release the petitioner on interim bail for a period of six months," Justice Pratibha Rani said, while making it clear that the accused will have to cooperate in the ongoing investigation and present himself before the investigators, as and when required.
In the 23-page order, the judge said, Kanhaiya would not leave the country without the permission of the trial
Here are some highlights:
1. Kanhaiya admits his presence at the spot on the alleged date of occurrence, also proven by photographs. The state agrees that in the footage of video recording of the incident, Kanhaiya has not been seen raising anti-national slogans, but maintains there are witness statements to the contrary.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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. 4
5. During the period spent by the petitioner in judicial custody, he might have introspected about the events that had taken place. To enable him to remain in the main stream, at present I am inclined to provide conservative method of treatment.
6. Those raising slogans are doing so without realising that they are in this safe environment 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.
7. The kind of slogans raised may have demoralizing effect on the family of those martyrs who returned home in coffin draped in tricolor.
8. Kanhaiya has to be reminded that fundamental duties of every citizen have been specified along with the fact that rights and duties are two sides of the same coin.
9.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.
10. Such incidents should not recur in JNU.
Full judgment here.