In Disha Ravi case, judge cites Rig Veda: 'Our civilisation never been averse to ideas from varied quarters'
The judge of the Delhi court, who granted bail to climate activist Disha Ravi on Tuesday, cited from Rig Veda - the oldest of the four Vedas revered by the Hindu community.
"This 5000-year-old civilisation of ours has never been averse to ideas from varied quarters. Even our founding father accorded due respect to the divergence of opinion by recognising the freedom of speech and expression as an inviolable fundamental right," additional sessions judge Dharmendra Rana said.
The right to dissent is firmly enshrined under Article 19 of the Constitution of India, justice Rana said and further added, "In my considered opinion, the freedom of speech and expression includes the right to seek a global audience."
Talking about the toolkit, which the police said was part of a global conspiracy to defame India, the judge said that he was shown two hyperlinks present in the Google Doc which had links to two websites where he couldn't find anything objectionable.
He also refused the public prosecutor's argument that the material in second website was "seditious" in nature. "The imputations maybe false, exaggerated or even with a mischievous intent but the same cannot be sitgmatized beig seditious unless they have tendency to foment violence," said justice Rana.
He also said that the police are in the process of collecting more evidence and so they cannot be allowed to further restrict the liberty of a citizen on the basis of propitious anticipations. "The resistance to bail plea seems to be more ornamental in nature," said the judge.
Ravi was arrested from Bengaluru on February 13 and has spent six days under police custody and three under judicial remand. She is the founder of the local chapter of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg's movement.
After her arrest, the Delhi Police had claimed that Ravi was involved in producing and disseminating an action plan that sparked violence during farmers' protests in Delhi. Her lawyers had said the arrest was illegal and there was nothing seditious in the toolkit.
She was granted bail today subject to furnishing two sureties of ₹1 lakh.