The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court on Monday granted bail to a student activist who was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Police for participating in a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)(Nitin Raj v. State of Uttar Pradesh).
While granting bail, the Single Judge Bench of Justice Mohd Faiz Alam Khan observed that “the applicant is a student and is having no criminal antecedents and…no useful purpose shall be served by further detention of the applicant in the prison.”
The Court noted that the charge-sheet in the case had been already filed and that the presence and movement of the accused can be easily monitored through suitable conditions.
The bail application was moved by Nitin Raj, who was charged under Sections 145 (joining unlawful assembly), 147 (punishment for rioting), 149 (common object in pursuance of unlawful assembly), 188 (disobedience to order), 353 (assault to deter public servant from discharging duty), 283 (obstructing public way), 427 (mischief causing damage), 505 (B) (public mischief), IPC, Section 7 of Criminal Law Amendments Act, and Section 66 of the Information Technology Act.
The applicant contended that he was falsely implicated and that the charges against him were punishable with less than 7 years’ imprisonment. It was also submitted before that he was previously released from prison in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, after which he willingly surrendered before the trial court on January 12.
Opposing the bail application, counsel for the State submitted that by taking part in anti-CAA protests, the applicant had created a law-and-order situation at and around a heritage site and had also obstructed the smooth flow of traffic.
It was also contended that the applicant and other accused persons were posting inflammatory posts on social media.
The Court also took note of the submission on behalf of the applicant that during his earlier release on account of the pandemic, no complaint of any kind was made against him.
“Nothing has been mentioned in the counter affidavit filed by the State whereby it may be inferred that during release of the applicant from prison on 18.3.2020 he has indulged himself in any unsocial and unlawful activity,” the order states.
After taking the submissions into consideration, the Court ruled that there was no need to keep the applicant behind bars, and granted him bail on the following conditions:
- The applicant shall not tamper with the prosecution evidence by intimidating/pressurizing the witnesses, during the investigation or trial.
- The applicant shall cooperate in the trial sincerely without seeking any adjournment.
- The applicant shall not indulge himself in any criminal activity or commission of any crime after being released on bail.