TISS student accused of sedition for slogan gets arrest shield from court
Kris Chudawala, the 22-year-old who was accused of sedition by Mumbai police for raising a slogan in favour of Sharjeel Imam, was granted pre-arrest bail by the Bombay High Court on Tuesday.
Justice SK Shinde who granted anticipatory bail to the Tata Institute of Social Sciences student, also questioned how the Azad Maidan police booked Kris Chudawala for sedition for a slogan that allegedly supported Sharjeel Imam.
The judge also noted that Mumbai police had failed to comply with the guidelines laid down by the high court in the 2015 Asim Trivedi’s verdict that requires the police to seek written opinion of the government’s law officer before invoking sedition charges under section 124-A of the Indian Penal Code.
The government counsel had told the court that Kris Chudawala was booked for sedition for raising slogans supporting Sharjeel Imam, who had been booked earlier for allegedly delivering inflammatory speeches against Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC).
“Does this (sedition case) satisfy the twin requirement of intention and tendency to create public disorder, as contemplated under section 124A of the Indian Penal Code,” Justice SK Shinde said, responding to public prosecutor Deepak Thakare.
Deepak Thakare had alleged that Kris Chudawala and 50 to 60 participants of Queer Azadi March had shouted: “Sharjeel Imam tere sapno ko ham manzil tak pahuchayenge (Sharjeel Imam, we will fulfil your dream and make it a reality)”. Thakare said that Sharjeel Imam had advocated cutting the entire north-east India from the mainland by cutting the ‘chicken’s neck (Assam)’.
But Kris is not the first person to put forth that ideology, Justice Shinde retorted. “Somebody else has proclaimed the ideology, she has merely supported it,” added the judge.
The court has told the student to report to the investigating officer on Wednesday and Thursday from 11 am to 2 pm and there after, as and when she is called. Kris Chudawala’s mobile phone will have to be surrendered to the police officer.