Bail for Disha Ravi: Court stands up for individual’s right to dissent - The Tribune India

Join Whatsapp Channel

Bail for Disha Ravi

Court stands up for individual’s right to dissent

Bail for Disha Ravi

Climate activist Disha Ravi - Reuters file photo



Climate activist Disha Ravi is out on bail in the toolkit case, 10 days after her arrest that had sparked outrage in India and abroad. The 22-year-old shouldn’t have been put in jail in the first place, going by the dressing-down given by a Delhi court to the police. Pulling no punches, Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana said, ‘The offence of sedition cannot be invoked to minister to the wounded vanity of the governments.’ This hard-hitting statement shows law enforcement officials as well as their political masters in a poor light. The Delhi Police were left red-faced as the court observed that the ‘scanty and sketchy’ evidence available on record was not sufficient to keep a person with no criminal record in custody.

Calling citizens ‘conscience keepers’ of the government in a democratic nation, the court has made it clear that people cannot be put behind bars simply because they choose to disagree with the State’s policies. Such observations can help counter the unwelcome trend of vilification of protesters and hopefully deter cops from invoking the sedition law at the drop of a hat. In any case, the poor conviction rate of this colonial-era legislation is a good reason for the police not to go overboard time and again.

Judge Rana had been equally forthright last week when he granted bail to two persons who were booked on the charge of sedition for allegedly posting/sharing fake videos on social media regarding the farmers’ protests. He had sounded a note of caution about the misuse of the law ‘to quieten the disquiet under the pretence of muzzling the miscreants’. It’s praiseworthy that the judiciary is intervening to prevent infringement of the individual’s right to dissent. The onus now is on the executive to respect difference of opinion and let protesters fearlessly have their say, as long as they don’t incite violence or disturb public peace. With India’s global ranking on the Democracy Index down from 27 (in 2014) to 53 last year, the government direly needs to make judicious use of the powerful tools at its disposal to maintain law and order.


Top News

Calcutta High Court declares null and void 2016 recruitment test for West Bengal Government-sponsored and aided schools

Over 25,000 West Bengal teachers lose jobs as Calcutta High Court cancels all appointments

Bench directs West Bengal School Service Commission to initi...

Supreme Court allows 14-year-old rape survivor to abort 30-week pregnancy

Supreme Court allows 14-year-old rape survivor to abort 30-week pregnancy

The SC askes Dean of Lokmanya Tilak Hospital in Mumbai to se...

Fayaz stabbed Neha 14 times in 30 seconds, reveals post-mortem report

Fayaz stabbed Neha 14 times in 30 seconds, reveals post-mortem report

The report said that the accused Fayaz had stabbed her chest...

Two students from Telangana killed in US road accident

2 students from Telangana killed in road accident in US state of Arizona

Nivesh Mukka and Goutham Kumar Parsi, both 19 years old, wer...

PIL seeking ‘extraordinary interim bail’ for Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal dismissed with Rs 75,000 costs

PIL seeking ‘extraordinary interim bail’ for Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal dismissed with Rs 75,000 costs

The petitioner, a law student, mentioned his name as ‘We, th...


Cities

View All