NEW DELHI: A Delhi court on Tuesday granted bail to climate activist Disha Ravi, saying that a call for violence in the toolkit for the farmers’ agitation was “conspicuously absent”.
In a significant observation, it added that citizens were conscience keepers of the government in any democratic nation and cannot be put behind bars simply because they choose to disagree with the state’s policies.
In an 18-page bail order, additional sessions judge Dharmender Rana said: “The offence of sedition cannot be invoked to minister to the wounded vanity of governments. Difference of opinion, disagreement, divergence, dissent, or for that matter, even disapprobation, are recognised legitimate tools to infuse objectivity in state policies. An aware and assertive citizenry, in contradistinction with an indifferent or docile citizenry, is indisputably a sign of a healthy and vibrant democracy.”
The judge said that in view of the “scanty and sketchy evidence available on record”, he found no palpable reason to breach the general rule of bail in the case of a 22-year-old young woman, who had “blemish-free” antecedents and “firm roots in the society”, and send her to jail.
The prosecution had alleged “links” between Disha and a “pro-Khalistani secessionist group”, Poetic Justice Foundation, which was associated with the creation of the toolkit document.