The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court has 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).
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.”
Therefore, while granting bail to Activist Nitin Raj, U.P. vice-president of the All-India Students Association (AISA) the bench noted that his presence and the movement could be controlled by imposing suitable conditions.
Charges Against the Accused Student
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) of the Indian Penal Code along with Section 7 of Criminal Law Amendments Act, and Section 66 of the Information Technology Act.
The FIR filed against Nitin Raj alleged that he, along with other co-accused persons participated in ‘Dharna Pardarshan’ against the passage of CAA, and by his acts, the smooth flow of traffic was obstructed and that they were also posting inflammatory posts on social media.
It was submitted by his Counsel that in view of COVID-19 Pandemic, the applicant was released from the prison on 16th March 2020, however, he again surrendered before the trial court on 12th January 2021 and since then he is lodged in jail. It was also submitted that he is a student and is having no criminal antecedents and as the charge sheet has already been submitted, no useful purpose shall be served by further detention of the applicant in the prison.
On the other hand, counsel for the State opposed the prayer for bail on the ground that the applicant has taken part in the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act passed by the Parliament and had created law and order situation at around a heritage site and also obstructed the smooth flow of the traffic. It was also alleged that he had altercations with the local police and having regard to the seriousness of the matter, he is not entitled to be released on bail.
However, while taking the submissions into consideration, the Court ruled that there was no need to keep the applicant behind bars.