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'Photographs Disclose Policemen Pelting Stones On The Crowd', Karnataka HC Grants Bail To Anti-CAA Protesters [Read Order]

Mustafa Plumber
19 Feb 2020 3:49 AM GMT

"The photographs produced by learned SPP-I depict that hardly any member of the crowd were armed with weapons except one of them holding a bottle. In none of these photographs, police station or policemen are seen in the vicinity. On the other hand, photographs produced by the petitioners disclose that the policemen themselves were pelting stones on the crowd.", states the Order.

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Observing that "Investigation appears to be mala fide and partisan," the Karnataka High Court has granted bail to 22 people booked by the Mangalore police on allegations of violence and attack on police during anti-CAA protests in Mangaluru on December 19, 2019.

 Justice John Michael Cunha, while granting bail to the accused said;

"In an offence involving large number of accused, identity and participation of each accused must be fixed with reasonable certainty. In the present cases, a perusal of the case records produced by the learned SPP-I indicate that the identity of the accused involved in the alleged incident appear to have been fixed on the basis of their affiliation to PFI (Popular Front Of India) and they being members of Muslim community. Though it is stated that the involvement of the petitioners is captured in the CCTV footage and photographs, no such material is produced before this Court showing the presence of any one of the petitioners at the spot armed with deadly weapons."

The Court further court observed that the objective of opposing CAA cannot be termed as an "unlawful object" within the meaning of Section 141 IPC.

In the words of the Court : "This assertion indicates that common object of the assembly was to oppose the implementation of CAA and NRC which by itself is not an "unlawful object" within the meaning of Section 141 of IPC."

Commenting on the evidence collected by the investigating agency the court said;

"The material collected by the Investigating Agency does not contain any specific evidence as to the presence of any one of the petitioners at the spot; on the other hand, omnibus allegations are made against the Muslim crowd of 1500 – 2000, alleging that they were armed with weapons like stones, soda bottles and glass pieces. The photographs produced by learned SPP-I depict that hardly any member of the crowd were armed with weapons except one of them holding a bottle. In none of these photographs, police station or policemen are seen in the vicinity. On the other hand, photographs produced by the petitioners disclose that the policemen themselves were pelting stones on the crowd."

The bench also considered the fact that 31 FIR's have been registered by the police against protesters but on complaints made by the family of the injured and those persons who died in police firing, no case has been registered. It said

"Even though the law required the police to register independent FIRs in view of the specific complaint made against the police officers making out cognizable offences, the respondent police have failed to register FIRs which would go to show that a deliberate attempt is underway to cover up police excesses by implicating innocent persons at the whims and caprice of the police. Overzealousness of the police is also evident from the fact that FIRs are registered under section 307 IPC, against the persons killed by the police themselves. In the wake of the counter allegations made against the police and in the backdrop of the failure of the police to register the FIRs based on the complaints lodged by the victims, the possibility of false and mistaken implication cannot be ruled out."

The bench said it was passing the order granting bail because;

"In the above circumstances, it would be travesty of justice to deny bail to the petitioners and sacrifice their liberties to the mercy of the District Administration and the police. The records indicate that deliberate attempt has been made to trump-up evidence and to deprive the liberties of petitioners by fabricating evidence. It is not disputed that none of the petitioners have any criminal antecedents. The allegations levelled against the petitioners are not punishable with death or imprisonment for life. There is no direct evidence to connect the petitioners with the alleged offences. Investigation appears to be mala fide and partisan. In the said circumstances, in order to protect the rights and liberties of the petitioners, it is necessary to admit them to bail."

The court directed the accused be released on bail of furnishing bond in a sum of Rs.1,00,000/- (Rupees One Lakh only) each with two sureties each for the like sum. They have been directed to remain present before the court as and when required and not get involved in similar offences. Not to leave the territorial jurisdiction of the court, without permission.

Click Here To Download Order

[Read Order]



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